CBO: GOP Health Care Plan Would Leave 23 Million Uninsured

Budget office to gauge health bill effect on coverage, cost

The new estimates could give talking points to House Republicans, or to Democrats, who voted unanimously against that bill.

Barbara Blonsky, a Mount Laurel resident who has participated in several protests at MacArthur's office, said the CBO's findings showed that the bill was not improved by the congressman's work.

"That is why the House took action and passed the American Health Care Act", McCarthy said.

The amendment lets states opt out of certain core ObamaCare provisions.

In (mostly rural) areas that did not expand those programs and in areas where enforcement of the individual mandate was unevenly applied, insurers tended to withdraw from the market, causing spiraling premium increases, the report said.

CBO found premiums would likely be lower in states that received the waivers, but not across the board. In addition, premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums, despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums.

In states that make changes to market regulations, premiums would be an estimated 20 percent lower under the AHCA by 2026 than the Affordable Care Act, primarily because policies would provide fewer benefits, the report said.

CBO said states adopting those waivers run the risk of destabilizing coverage for people with medical problems. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has already expressed interest in the waivers. Markets in these states could become "unstable" in 2020, the CBO warned. Under this GOP bill, with the waivers out of requirements, the CBO thinks that 64-year-old would see their premiums skyrocket.

In a third scenario, the CBO estimated that about half the nation's population would live in states that did not ask for waivers to change insurance requirements.

The bill's impact in CT would depend on how the state decides on choices the legislation provides for changing insurance regulations. In these states, average premiums could be roughly 20 percent lower in 2026 than under ObamaCare, but these plans could provide fewer benefits. In those states, the reductions for younger people would be substantially larger and for older people, the reductions would be substantially smaller.

One challenge the CBO faced in creating these estimates was figuring out how many states would get those waivers, and the report acknowledges that this creates some uncertainty in the estimates.

"In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services", CBO wrote.

The American Health Care Act is now in the Senate's hands, and Wednesday's score will inform senators' work as they draft their own version of the bill, experts say.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also blasted the AHCA based on the CBO's scoring, saying it is evidence Presidnet Donald Trump broke his promise to reduce the uninsured rate and protect people with pre-existing health conditions. Two months after that embarrassing defeat, Republicans returned with a new AHCA, which they passed without waiting for a CBO score.

"This bill does not do enough to address Nevada's Medicaid population or protect Nevadans with pre-existing conditions", he said. "The AHCA is a first step but not the solution". Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, said in a statement, "No wonder the Republicans were afraid of the CBO analysis".

"This assessment from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office proves that the bill passed by a party-line vote with no hearings will be unsafe and harmful".

However, younger Americans would see little change in their premiums, or even declines.

The measure is modeled after a subsidy that Medicare pays for prescription drug coverage - known as Medicare Part D - that has kept competition in place, Kaine said.

Rick Pollack, president and chief executive of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement that the new numbers "only reinforce our deep concerns about the importance of maintaining coverage for those vulnerable patients who need it".

As with all CBO reports, Wednesday's analysis notes that there are a number of factors that contribute to the uncertainty of its prognostications but that it "endeavored to develop estimates that are in the middle of the distribution of potential outcomes".

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