CBO analysis of GOP healthcare plan raises concerns

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday released a long-awaited analysis of the Republican ObamaCare replacement bill which projected that the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 14 million in 2018 and rise to 24 million in a decade.

The analysis is likely to generate heated debate in Congress over the proposed legislation which could come up for a vote in the House next week.

Analysts foresaw a drop in coverage under the Republican plan, but the decrease estimated by the CBO was larger than predicted.

According to the report, changes in Medicaid would be largely responsible for 24 million people becoming uninsured by 2026. The Republican proposal would end extra federal funding of Medicaid expansion and cap federal spending for the program, leading to a widespread loss of coverage.

The analysis also estimated that 7 million fewer people would be insured through their employers by 2026, citing that some individuals would choose not to get health insurance and some employers would decline to offer it.

The CBO report estimated that premiums in the individual market for health insurance would rise before 2020 then decrease in later years. Additionally, people’s out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, “would tend to be higher” under the Republican plan than under ObamaCare since requirements on insurers would be loosened.

The GOP bill would repeal financial assistance to help pay deductibles for low-income people who are currently enrolled in ObamaCare.

“The CBO’s estimate makes clear that TrumpCare will cause serious harm to millions of American families,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

“Tens of millions will lose their coverage, and millions more, particularly seniors, will have to pay more for health care. The CBO score shows just how empty the president’s promises, that everyone will be covered and costs will go down, have been.”

As for the benefits of the Republicans’ plan, the CBO reported that the federal deficit would be decreased by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period, should the legislation pass. The decrease would be largely attributable to the elimination of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion and the law’s subsidies to help people purchase insurance.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a statement asserted that the CBO’s analysis found decreased premiums, deficit reduction and tax relief.

“I recognize and appreciate concerns about making sure people have access to coverage,” Ryan added. “[O]ur plan is not about forcing people to buy expensive, one-size-fits-all coverage. It is about giving people more choices and better access to a plan they want and can afford.”

H/T: The Hill

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