Health care bill would drive up premiums for millions, CBO finds

Cheryl Sanders
May 27, 2017

The GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cut Colorado's Medicaid funding by $14 billion, and cause 23 million people nationally to lose health coverage, according to the latest estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Miller expects the Senate will work to reduce the number of people left without healthcare by 4 million-5 million people, bringing it below 19 million.

The CBO issued two reports on earlier versions of the Republican legislation, called the American Health Care Act, in March.

Health care bill would drive up premiums for millions, CBO finds

"Advisory to Republicans who support the replacement for Obamacare: Backing this bill could be very hazardous to your political health", said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"People who are less healthy (including those with pre-existing or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive ... health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all", said the CBO report. And states could elect to charge more for pre-existing conditions.

One such benefit now mandated for coverage is maternity care. The agency estimated that about one-sixth of the population - more than 50 million people - live in states that would make substantial changes under the waivers.

Although the CBO found that the AHCA would reduce premiums on average, it determined that "less healthy people would face extremely high premiums" in certain states, and that "over time, it would become more hard for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly".

The association's report concludes that children's Medicaid would be slashed between $43 billion and $78 billion over the next decade, depending on the exact way the American Health Care Act is implemented. But while premiums will be lower, the plans will offer less coverage, because they won't be required to cover things like emergency services or prescription drugs, depending on what rules each state decides on.

"Insurers would expect most purchasers to use the benefits and would therefore price that rider at close to the average cost of maternity coverage, which could be more than $1,000 per month", the report said. The CBO score showed the elderly and the sickest Americans could face higher insurance premiums. States that make moderate changes to Obamacare regulations would have roughly 20 percent lower premiums in 2026 compared to Obamacare, and states that waived all of Obamacare's health regulations would experience the lowest average health premiums. Lowering premiums was the biggest sticking point for getting the bill out of the House. But according to Cramer, that doesn't matter, repealing and replacing a bad law like Obamacare, even if it is worse is a win because we said we were going to do it on the stump during election season.

"The American Health Care Act would have a devastating impact on working families, driving many deeper into hunger and poverty", said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC also said the CBO report showed the "Collapse and Replace" of Obamacare "may prove to be the most effective path forward".

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