After several days of anticipation, the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office’s score of the Republican-passed American Health Care Act was released: 23 million will lose their insurance, and the plan will significantly increase premium costs for the sick and the elderly.
The AHCA was narrowly passed in the House despite allegations that many House Republicans did not read or support the bill, instead expecting it to undergo a major overhaul in the senate.
Despite GOP promises that the bill will cut costs for Americans, the CBO’s analysis determined that for people with pre-existing conditions or those in “high risk” pools, premiums may increase to exorbitant prices. According to the CBO, older people with low incomes will be disproportionately impacted by the bill, which will increase health care premiums for the elderly in poverty by up to $13,000 in some cases.
A handful of groups, mostly middle and upper class, will see a decrease in premiums, but the poor and the elderly will see significant price increases.
Despite this, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Wednesday “This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit. It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
CBO predicts the bill will decrease the deficit by $119 billion in 10 years. The debt is expected to be about $20 trillion by the end of 2017, almost 200 times more than the amount the healthcare bill will save.
According to the CBO report, 14 billion of those expected to lose their insurance will come from a planned $834 billion cut to Medicaid over the next 10 years. Medicaid provides insurance to those in poverty or on disability.
In response to the scores, top GOP leaders and the White House have issued statements pointing out the CBO’s analysis of Obamacare was incorrect.
According to Factcheck, the CBO analysis of Obamacare in 2010 was mostly correct, accurately predicting how many would gain coverage but incorrectly estimating how they would gain coverage in the new system. The estimates were more accurate than the Obama administration’s predictions, as well as the Urban Institute and the RAND corporation.