Senate health care bill would lead to 22 million more uninsured, CBO says

WASHINGTON — Twenty-two million fewer people would have health care coverage by 2026 under the health care overhaul bill currently being considered by the Senate, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

CBO previously estimated that 23 million fewer people would be covered under the bill passed by the House in May. President Trump told senators two weeks ago the House bill was "mean" and he wanted the Senate bill to have more "heart."

The numbers compare to estimates of coverage under current law, the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare — which Republicans have vowed to repeal.

The CBO estimates that 15 million people would be uninsured by 2018 with the number rising through 2026.

"In later years, other changes in the legislation — lower spending on Medicaid and substantially smaller average subsidies for coverage in the nongroup market — would also lead to increases in the number of people without health insurance," 

Republican senators are considering a draft of a health care bill that would scale back federal funding for Medicaid, change the subsidies available to help low- and moderate-income people buy private insurance, end the mandate that most people buy health insurance and repeal the taxes that helped expand coverage to about 20 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act.

The proposed bill would also reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion over the next decade. That reduction is nearly triple the reduction in the House bill's $119 billion. The CBO said that the majority of the savings would come from reductions in Medicaid spending. The largest increases in deficits would come from getting rid of Obamacare taxes that are not directly related to health insurance coverage.

The Republican National Committee attempted to counter-program minutes after the score was released with an email that said "CBO's Long History Of Being Way Off."

The email ticked through a series of times that the CBO had not accurately modeled, including an incorrect estimate of the number of people that would enroll in the Obamacare exchanges.

Meanwhile, a nonpartisan coalition of patient and consumer groups — American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the  March of Dimes among them — urged senators to vote against the bill saying it "will do irreparable harm to patients, particularly those living with chronic illnesses."

Republican leaders are aiming to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate sometime this week. But as of Monday, the bill — in its current form — did not have enough votes to pass. The bill will fail if more than two Senate Republicans vote against it, since no Democrats will support it. Since the bill's release last week, about a half-dozen lawmakers have expressed opposition to the legislation in its current form.

The House passed its own version of a health care bill in May. If the Senate is able to pass its legislation, another House vote will be necessary to either vote on the Senate bill or some other compromise measure.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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