The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its analysis of Senate Republicans’ health care plan later Monday.
Other Republican senators have expressed concerns. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces perhaps the toughest 2018 re-election race of any Senate Republican and has said he can’t support the measure if huge numbers of people lose coverage.
Several moderates Republicans, including Susan Collins of ME, have already said they could not support a bill that resulted in tens of millions of people losing their insurance.
Monday’s report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could give moderate senators concerned about health care coverage pause.
Several GOP senators have said they want to see their bill cover more people than the House version.
“This bill is every bit as mean as the House bill”, said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The House approved its legislation in May.
So here is what the CBO is saying: The BCRA’s subsidies are too small to make the silver plans affordable for low-income people, and the plans it is trying to make affordable – the ones that cover 58 percent of expected costs – carry such high deductibles that low-income Americans won’t buy them because they won’t be able to afford to use them.
According to the CBO, the Senate bill does reduce the deficit by $321 billion over the next 10 years, which $202 billion more than the House version that passed last month.
The budget office report said coverage losses would especially affect people between ages 50 and 64, before they qualify for Medicare, and with incomes below 200 percent of poverty level, or around $30,300 for an individual.
One of those moderates, Sen.
The largest savings in the Senate bill would come from reducing federal spending on Medicaid, which would decline by 26% by 2026, compared to current law.
None of the dissident senators have ruled out supporting the legislation if McConnell changes it, and the leader is hoping to offer amendments to win support. And it would put annual caps on overall Medicaid money the government until now has automatically paid states, whatever the costs.
But Republicans’ criticisms have focused narrowly on the individual market – people purchasing health insurance on their own.
How does this compare to the House bill?
In another troublesome finding for the legislation, the budget office warned that in some rural areas, either no insurer would be willing participate in the individual market or the policies offered would be prohibitively expensive.
The revised bill attempts to solve that problem by imposing a penalty on those who don’t maintain continuous insurance coverage: People who let their coverage lapse for at least 63 days in one year would be locked out of the insurance market for six months the following year. Without enough healthy customers making regular premium payments, insurance companies would be forced to raise prices, driving more customers away – a situation sometimes described as a “death spiral”.
Pro-Trump group American First Policies has launched an aggressive, million-dollar-plus ad campaign against Heller.
The American Medical Association said it was especially concerned with a proposal to put the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor on a budget, saying this could “fail to take into account unanticipated costs of new medical innovations or the fiscal impact of public health epidemics, such as the crisis of opioid abuse now ravaging our nation”. He criticized the measure for increasing federal spending on subsidies for people buying coverage and not eliminating enough of Obama’s regulations on insurers, including protections for consumers with pre-existing medical conditions.