Many moderate Republican leaders—in Congress, in governor’s mansions, and in state legislatures—have expressed concerns that millions of people could lose their insurance under the new American Health Care Act and that premiums could spike for those who continue to buy private coverage. The leaders have been holding off on their support for the AHCA until the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the bill’s impacts. The study’s results came out Monday, and the conclusions are dire.
According to the CBO, “the number of uninsured people would grow by 14 million in 2018 under the replacement bill, with that number rising to 24 million by 2026….Premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher in the first year compared to the ACA and 10 percent lower on average after 2026. By and large, older Americans would pay ‘substantially’ more and younger Americans less.”
The GOP legislation would lower the deficit by $337 billion during that time, largely by spending less on Medicaid and government aid for people buying health plans on their own.
The analysis predicts that the number of people without health coverage would rise to 52 million by 2026, compared with 28 million if the ACA remains intact. That erosion would mean that about 1 in 5 U.S. residents would be uninsured by 2026—compared to 1 in 10 uninsured now and 1 in 6 who were uninsured before the ACA was enacted.
According to a Washington Post story, “While the deficit would be lower, the legislation also would reduce federal revenue by $592 billion by 2026 by repealing several taxes the ACA created to help pay for more people to get insurance—notably taxes on high-income Americans, hospitals, and health insurers.
“’They are implementing the biggest transfer of wealth in our history,’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Monday. ‘In terms of insurance coverage, it’s immoral. In terms of giving money to the rich at the expense of working families, it is indecent and wrong.’”
“Proponents of the plan,” says the Post, “have argued that the total number of people covered is the wrong way to measure the law’s impact.”
Already, there are signs that the CBO report is not helping to solidify GOP support.