CBO Says Republican Health Bill Would Leave 23 Million Fewer People Insured

The Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passed by House Republicans earlier this month would leave 23 million fewer people insured by 2026, while reducing the deficit by less than previously estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In a highly anticipated analysis, the nonpartisan CBO slightly lowered its estimate of how many fewer people would be insured over 10 years. But even with the reduced estimate, Democrats ripped the new finding as Republicans planned to march ahead with one of their key policy goals.

Read the CBO analysis

The latest CBO score comes about three weeks after the bill, named the American Health Care Act, passed the House. The CBO said it will reduce the deficit by $119 billion. The most recent score of the bill was that the deficit would be cut by $150 billion.


Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump campaigned on replacing President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. The AHCA would replace Obamacare subsidies with a system of tax credits; cut the Medicaid program for low-income Americans; and also slash about $1 trillion in taxes over the next decade, including a 3.8% investment tax on the wealthy. It also keeps the Obamacare requirement that family insurance policies cover children until the age of 26.

The analysis says that under the bill, premiums would vary significantly according to health status, but that “less healthy people would face extremely high premiums” despite provisions in the bill designed to reduce them.

The CBO also says that people with preexisting medical conditions in certain states would have a harder time buying insurance — “if they could purchase it at all” — as their premiums rise rapidly.


The impact of the bill is particularly severe on older, low-income Americans. A 64-year-old making $26,500 will, after tax credits, see their insurance premiums spike to as much as $16,000 from $1,700, the CBO estimated. By contrast, a 21-year-old making $68,200 will see their premiums fall to as little as $1,250 per year from $5,100.

The Senate is not planning to simply vote on the House-passed bill, but is instead working on its own version with the aim of merging them into a single product. The Senate GOP is reportedly under pressure by the White House to pass a repeal-and-replace measure before the congressional recess in August.

With midterm elections scheduled for next year, Democrats are beginning to make Republicans’ plans to repeal Obamacare a campaign issue. Republicans say that Obamacare is unsustainable. On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was optimistic about his party’s chances of retaining control of the House next year.

“I think they’re excellent because we’re in the midst of keeping our promises,” Ryan said at event hosted by Axios.

In a statement about the report, Ryan said it “confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit.”

Democrats pounced on the CBO analysis moments after it was released.

“Today’s updated CBO score reaffirms the disturbing reality of Trumpcare: tens of millions of Americans would lose their health insurance and millions more would be forced to pay dramatically more for less coverage,” said Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee.

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