CBO Predicts 23 million More Uninsured Under AHCA


The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the final American Health Care Act (AHCA).   The House-approved bill that largely repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will add 23 million Americans to the ranks of the uninsured by 2026, including 14 million over the next year.

The Republican-controlled House narrowly passed the bill, called the America Health Care Act (AHCA), on May 4 without the benefit of an updated CBO score, or analysis, of the measure to reflect two last-minute amendments.

One would allow states to waive the ACA's community rating provision, which bars insurers from charging consumers more if they have pre-existing conditions. Under the other amendment, states could allow insurers on ACA marketplaces, or exchanges, to offer policies that don't include all of the law's essential benefits, such as hospitalization, maternity care, and mental health care.

The CBO analysis found that 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured in 2026, twice as many as the 28 million who would have been without insurance under the ACA. The report also found that some of the nation’s sickest and those over age 50 would pay much more for health care under the AHCA, potentially driving them out of the insurance market.

The increase in the number of uninsured is due to Medicaid cuts and the removal of income-based tax credits to help low- to moderate-income families afford coverage. Some of the increase was also related to the state waivers that would allow insurers to charge much more for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.

Senate Republicans have stated that they plan to draft their own legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, incorporating elements of the House bill.

(Source: Medscape [5/23/2017])