CBO Scores Senate Healthcare Bill

Number of Uninsured Will Spike to 15M in the First Year Following the Bill’s Passage

by Caitlin Martin

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It’s Not a Pretty Picture for Most Americans

Last week the Senate decided to hold off on voting for its version of Repeal-and-Replace — and for good reason — the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) review of the bill scores it no better than the House bill. Despite the report, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-KY) plans to bring the bill up for a vote after the July 4 recess.

Here’s what the CBO had to say about what will happen if the bill becomes law:

  • Many Americans become uninsured — the number of uninsured will spike by 15 million the first year, rising to 22 million over the next decade
  • **Less help for purchasing insurance — **subsidies to help Americans purchase health insurance “substantially smaller”
  • Premiums for older Americans much higher — for example, for an average 64-year-old with annual income of $26,500, the net premium in 2026 for a mid-level plan, after subsidies, would be about $6,500 compared with $1,700 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); for those with an annual income of $56,800, the 2026 premium would be about $20,500 annually — three times the amount under the ACA. In both examples, the costly insurance would cover fewer medical costs.
  • **Defict reduction — **federal deficit would be reduced by $321 billion over a decade due to steep cuts in federal spending
  • **Insurance market remains stable, but some Americans will be unable to get coverage in their area — **The CBO states that the individual insurance market is stable and would remain stable under the new bill, but after 2019 a portion of the population would reside in areas where insurers would not participate in the market or would only offer insurance with very high premiums.
  • **Premiums drop, but costs rise — **average premiums will drop, but out-of-pocket costs will rise — plans would cover fewer services and have higher deductibles

The bill is opposed by many major medical groups, including the American Medical Association stating that the bill violates the “first, do no harm” principle in medicine.

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