The House of Representatives passed the Republican healthcare bill on May 4, even though the latest version hadn't been scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine how it could alter the number of uninsured Americans and what it would cost if enacted. The American Health Care Act's CBO score was finally released on Wednesday, revealing that the bill would lower premiums, offer less coverage, and leave millions uninsured.
Because Senate Republicans are attempting to reform health care through a budget reconciliation process that doesn't allow a filibuster, how the House healthcare bill would impact the national deficit was one of the most important aspects of the CBO score. In order to meet the requirements of previous budget instructions, the bill needed to lower the deficit by at least $2 billion over a decade, and the CBO found that the deficit would see a net reduction of $119 billion by 2026.
The majority of the savings would be due to reductions in Medicaid and the removal of Obamacare's subsidies for nongroup health insurance.
The number of people left without health insurance would be almost the same as the initial Republican bill that was withdrawn from the House in March because the GOP didn't have enough votes. When the CBO evaluated the original bill, it found that about 24 million Americans would lose insurance by 2026. The new score says the updated bill would cause 23 million people to become uninsured in the same time frame.
People would likely see lower premiums, but for less coverage, and one-sixth of Americans live in states that could see unstable markets. The waivers that would allow certain states to opt out of essential health benefits and charge more for preexisting conditions would make premiums in those areas rise, and people with preexisting conditions wouldn't be able to buy insurance comparable to plans under the current law, if at all.
The Senate is still discussing what it will do with the bill that would replace much of Obamacare, and the CBO's analysis of the House proposal's effects on American lives could help guide its decisions.