CBO report says millions kicked off health insurance under new GOP plan

UPDATE 2 — 3:13 p.m. EDT: According to an OMB document on the effects of the American Health Care Act leaked to Politico, 26 million citizens will lose health coverage over the next 10 years, 2 million more than the CBO projects.

Specifically, the executive office’s analysis shows 17 million Americans will be purged from Medicaid and a combined 9 million are expected drop private insurance plans, both out-of-pocket and employer-based.

 

UPDATE — 12:41 p.m. EDT: With CBO’s markup of the American Health Care Act now public knowledge, Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have started to weigh-in on the real effects of a long-awaited Obamacare replacement bill.

“It’s awful. It has to be a concern,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), referring to the budget office’s projection that 14 million will lose health coverage next year. “President Trump said he wanted as many people covered as under Obamacare.”

Conversely, House conservatives like Ohio’s Jim Jordan, have called the legislation “Obamacare Lite.” “This bill doesn’t unite Republicans. This bill doesn’t bring down the cost of premiums,” he said. 

While moderate Republican members of the House and Senate, including leadership, have been more optimistic about the plan, congressional Democrats are unified in opposition.

“Trumpcare would be a nightmare for the American people,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose House counterpart, California’s Nancy Pelosi, also opposes the bill.

 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its highly anticipated report on House Republicans’ “American Health Care Act” Monday, showing the Obamacare replacement legislation would result in 14 million Americans losing insurance in 2018.

By 2026, the CBO projects 24 million Americans would be uninsured.  If the bill is passed, the number of uninsured Americans would nearly double in comparison to coverage under the current Affordable Care Act.

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, immediately pushed back against the report, saying the CBO does not look at other factors such as future legislation and regulatory actions that would affect the healthcare law.

“We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out. We believe that our plan would cover more individuals at a lower cost, and give them the choices that they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and their family — not that the government forces them to buy,” Price said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took a more succinct approach, calling the CBO’s numbers “way off.”

The report is another blow to the GOP leadership that was hoping for an expedited “repeal and replace” process. The new projects, combined with the threat of midterm elections, seem to be making some Republican legislators nervous about voting for a bill that could result in a loss of coverage for their constituents.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is one example of a Republican who is not a fan of his party’s healthcare replacement bill. Heller is representing a state that has become increasingly Democratic in presidential elections over the past decade.

“My argument with the Republicans is if we’re going to make the changes, don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act so you can keep all the taxes. I think that’s unfair and I don’t think that’s a responsible way to move forward,” Heller said.

The CBO report does project that the American Health Care Act would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next 10 years, but this may not be enough of an upside for some Republicans to take the political risk.

 

[AP] [Washington Post] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Greg Nash/The Hill]