In news that will likely change the way some lawmakers view the Senate’s proposal to gut and replace much of the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this latest effort would ultimately leave 22 million Americans without insurance on top of those that would be uninsured under the current law, while trimming $321 billion from the federal deficit over ten years.
Four million people who now get insurance from their employer are expected to lose coverage by next year, in part because eliminating financial penalties imposed on companies that don’t provide those benefits will cause some of them to shrug their shoulders and decline to offer coverage altogether. “The increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income – particularly between 50 and 64 years old – with income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level”.
The fresh figures come as President Donald Trump, in a sharp pivot from the praise he initially lavished on the House bill, is urging the Senate to provide Americans more generous help with health insurance. There are 52 Republican senators, and he needs 50 “yes” votes to move the bill through the Senate. It added that “the challenges the current bill proposes to the Medicaid program knowing how important it is to achieve the necessary funding and access to health-care services and supports are for the individuals and families who rely on them to live healthy meaningful lives in their communities”.
Of the 22 million, 15 million of them would have no insurance next year under the bill, the nonpartisan budget office said. “If senators truly care about the well-being of their most vulnerable constituents – the elderly, people with disabilities, and children – they will vote against this legislation”.
Murray also said she “fully” expects McConnell to “twist arms and cut backroom deals” to corral enough votes to pass the bill.
Cost-sharing reduction payments help cover expenses like deductibles for people with modest incomes.
But looking just at the expected decreases in Medicaid coverage, the Senate bill is actually worse over the long run. Because Republicans deliberately changed the rules so they couldn’t. Like the House bill, except for some implementation dates, the Senate bill repeals Obamacare taxes imposed primarily on the wealthy, that amount to about $765 billion dollars.
On Monday, the bill was revised to include a penalty for people who don’t maintain coverage for at least 63 days.
The CBO also weighed in on what will happen to health insurance premiums. It would require insurers to boost premiums by 30 percent for those whose coverage lapsed.
For the first time, the Senate bill would cap federal spending on Medicaid in 2020, forcing state governments to either scale back the program or make up the difference out of their own budgets. This was supposedly an oversight, and earlier today McConnell announced a new provision that after a certain date would lock new health-insurance applicants out of the markets for six months, presumably encouraging them to enroll earlier. The exceptions are California and NY, where state law requires that most insurers include plans that cover abortions.
Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is up for re-election next year, has already expressed reservations about the number of people who could lose coverage under the GOP bill. On Sunday, the president repeated during a “Fox and Friends” TV appearance a word he had used in a private White House lunch earlier this month with a group of GOP senators: that the House’s version is “mean”.