The Senate version of the American Health Care Act might be less “mean,” but not by much. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million people will be uninsured by 2026 if the bill becomes law and replaces Obamacare, just 1 million less than its previous estimate for the House version.
You can read the entire report below, or by clicking here.
The report comes just three days after the Senate bill was finally unveiled after Republicans drafted the bill in secret and follows President Donald Trump‘s own critique of the House AHCA as “mean.” The CBO previously estimated that 23 million fewer people would be insured if that version became law. The House version was passed in May, without a single Democratic Representative voting for it.
In its report on the Senate version, the CBO estimates that 15 million people would be uninsured by 2018 if this passes. By 2020, the number climbs to 19 million and reaches 22 million by 2026. The cuts in Medicaid after 2020 would also result in more people uninsured, according to the panel. By 2026, spending on Medicaid will drop by 26 percent compared to the Affordable Care Act’s scheduled increase in Medicaid spending.
The CBO reports that the Senate bill does cut direct spending by $1.022 trillion and cuts revenues by $701 billion, resulting in a “net reduction of $321 billion.” But the CBO also notes that an increase in deficits would “come from repealing or modifying tax provisions in the ACA that are not directly related to health insurance coverage, including repealing a surtax on net investment income and repealing annual fees imposed on health insurers.”
The CBO also included a chart, which shows that Medicaid spending would be cut by $772 million between 2017 and 2026 if the bill passes, while there would be a $541 billion increase in “noncoverage provisions,” or repeals of taxes that were used to pay for ACA benefits. That includes taxes on the wealthy’s investment income and taxes on health insurers.
In a last-second move before the CBO report came out, NBC News reported that Republicans did add a penalty for those who decide to go uninsured, even though their biggest criticism of Obamacare was the individual mandate. The penalty in the Senate bill will bar uninsured Americans from buying insurance for six months. That’s different from Obamacare’s financial penalty if you don’t have insurance for 63 days or more.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has hoped to hold a vote on the bill by the end of the week, before the Senate goes on its July 4 holiday. The Senate can pass the bill without a single Democratic vote, but there are enough Republicans already saying they will not support it as is that could sink the bill. Conservative Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson, along with Nevada Senator Dean Heller have all said they couldn’t vote for it. Maine Senator Susan Collins also said she can’t see how the Senate could vote on it now.
Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter on Monday, calling Democrats “obstructionists” and suggested that Republicans should “perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!”
The White House has issued the following statement on the CBO report:
The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage. This history of inaccuracy, as demonstrated by its flawed report on coverage, premiums, and predicted deficit arising out of Obamacare, reminds us that its analysis must not be trusted blindly. In 2013, the CBO estimated that 24 million people would have coverage under Obamacare by 2016. It was off by an astounding 13 million people – more than half—as less than 11 million were actually covered. Then, CBO estimated that 30 million fewer people would be uninsured in 2016, but then it had to reduce its estimate to 22 million, further illustrating its inability to present reliable healthcare predictions. We know the facts. To date, we have seen average individual market premiums more than double and insurers across the country opting out of healthcare exchanges. As more and more people continue to lose coverage and face fewer healthcare choices, President Trump is committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare, which has failed the American people for far too long.