GOP Health Bill: 23M More Uninsured; Sick Risk Higher Costs

It estimated that 23 million more people would be without health insurance in 2026 compared with the current baseline. The CBO report says the American Health Care Act will result in 23 million fewer Americans having health care under the bill than under Obamacare by 2026.

The AHCA would also cut subsidies that have made it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance, dramatically raising costs for poor people and senior citizens.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said the CBO report showed giving states more flexibility to design insurance policies could be beneficial for some, but the analysis also lent support to the idea of strengthening the bill's tax credits. Insurers in these states would be allowed to charge higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions if they let their coverage lapse.

The bill would provide some funding for tax credits and high-risk pools. In those states, CBO and JCT expect that, overall, average premiums in the nongroup market would be roughly 20 percent lower in 2026 than under current law, primarily because, on average, insurance policies would provide fewer benefits.

Democrats quickly reacted to the findings.

States that opt out of Obamacare rules under a House bill could make sick people pay "extremely high premiums" if they could afford coverage at all, the new Congressional Budget Office report this week says.

Trump's Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, assailed the CBO for being inaccurate, with the White House issuing a similar critique.

For some, overall health care costs would go up by even "thousands of dollars" for the so-called essential health benefits that are now treated as mandated coverage under Obamacare, the CBO report stated. We've noted before that the House GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is a travesty, given that Republicans have had seven years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act to put together their own health care package that actually is good for America.

But the CBO report said the amendment would make it hard or impossible for people in poor health to purchase comprehensive coverage in some states. It predicted the same for the original version of the House bill.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the House of Representatives. That instability would result from market responses to decisions by some states to waive two provisions of federal law, as would be permitted under H.R. 1628.

It also would allow insurers in states that get waivers to strip out certain minimum health benefits that Obamacare now requires them to include in their health plans.

Both AMA and AAFP expressed hope the Senate would and address their concerns, with the AAFP specifically asking lawmakers to lower pharmaceutical treatments costs; ensure primary, preventive, and mental health and substance use services are more readily available to all Americans; stabilize the individual market; and expand health insurance coverage and ensure that it remains affordable. If the current health care law is left in place, the CBO estimates that in a decade some 28 million Americans will not have insurance.

"The CBO also identified that this bill will reduce the deficit by $119 billion, paving the way for the Senate to do its work to repeal and replace Obamacare", House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy added.

The CBO's newly estimated deficit savings mean the bill can safely move on to the Senate. They would see minimal decreases in premiums, though the amount would vary widely by age.

Poorer and older Americans?

About one-third of the population resides in states that would make moderate changes to market regulations.

  • Joey Payne