The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would result in 23 million more Americans being uninsured by 2026 when compared the current health insurance system, Obamacare. However, the AHCA is projected to reduce the nation’s deficit by $19 billion in the next decade, according to a report released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
According to the CBO, premiums for young, healthy Americans would be lower, however those who have pre-existing conditions could expect their premiums rise. The bill would not require states to cover certain essential healthcare benefits such as maternity and mental health.
The AHCA was narrowly passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives earlier in May after several previously failed attempts to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While House Speaker Paul Ryan saw the passage as a victory for the GOP, Senate Republicans are skeptical about passing the bill in its current form.
With CBO’s analysis now public, many members of the party are wary of backing the bill they say could hurt their constituents. The Senate is expected to write their own bill, and has many versions already in progress.
“Unfortunately, the CBO estimates that 23 million Americans would lose insurance coverage over the next decade, and the impact would disproportionately affect older, low-income Americans,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said. “I urge my colleagues to support the comprehensive ACA replacement plan Senator Cassidy and I introduced that will allow more Americans to obtain health insurance, preserve significant consumer protections, and help moderate the cost of health care.”
Unlike Collins, many Republicans dismissed the CBO’s numbers as either inaccurate, or failing to tell the whole story. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, said the numbers are just plain wrong.
“The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare’s effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again,” Price said.
Democrats capitalized on the CBO’s report as an opportunity to make a public appeal to keep the suddenly popular Obamacare in place. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the plan a “nightmare” and said he hopes that this will be the “final nail in the coffin” with regards to the Republicans’ goal to repeal and replace the ACA.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was equally as pessimistic, but for different reasons, telling Reuters he didn’t think Congress’ upper chamber could even muster 50 votes to pass a modified version of the House bill.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
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