An estimated 23 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 under Republican legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report released yesterday.
The CBO said that the so-called “Trumpcare” bill, which narrowly passed by U.S. House earlier this month, would also reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026.
The bill would cover an additional 1 million Americans than a previous version of the bill, which failed to clear the House, according to the CBO. In their scoring of the previous version, the budget office said the bill would cut $337 billion from the federal deficit over 9 years; premiums for individuals purchasing insurance would increase 15% to 20% in 2018 and 2019.
The new Trumpcare bill passed in the House May 4, despite clashes between conservative and moderate members of the Republican Party and a lack of review from the CBO.
The GOP bill is designed to repeal most Obamacare taxes, such as a penalty for not purchasing health insurance, and would roll back the expansion of Medicaid and cut its funding. The bill would also allow states to opt out of a popular Obamacare provision that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher rates, as well as 1 that required insurers to cover 10 essential health benefits including maternity care and prescription drugs.
The CBO report said the latter amendment would make it difficult or impossible for people in poor health to purchase comprehensive coverage in some states.
“People who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive non-group health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all,” according to the report. People can get their insurance back by going to traders insurance.
Markets for people to buy individual insurance plans could then become “unstable” in states that choose to waive the Obamacare requirements for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions and essential health benefits, the CBO said.
A group of 13 Republican senators, led by majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to draft its own version of the healthcare bill in the coming months. McConnell said yesterday that he does not yet know how Republicans will get the necessary votes.
“This is a very challenging undertaking,” he said.
Several Republican senators said they could not support the House bill after reviewing the CBO report.
“While I am in favor of repealing Obamacare, I am opposed to the American Health Care Act in its current form,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said in prepared remarks. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said too many people would lose insurance and that older and low-income Americans would be hurt. Its just not about health insurance, even if you move your furniture you should have furniture moving insurance.
Democrats blasted the bill, saying the CBO report shows that it would be catastrophic for millions of people who would lose health insurance.
“The report makes clear Trumpcare would be a cancer on the American healthcare system,” Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference.
The CBO report said that the 5-year, $8 billion allocation in the House bill to help sick people pay for insurance premiums would not be enough to help them afford coverage. Premiums would fall for younger people and rise for older people in states that did not waive Obamacare requirements, for an overall decline of about 4%. In states that made moderate changes to their markets, representing about ⅓ of the U.S. population, premiums would fall 20% on average.
House speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that the bill is slated to be passed to the Senate for a vote in the coming weeks.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.