The House Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under current law, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday. At the same time, the bill would cut the deficit by $337 billion over a decade. The legislation would lead to average premiums for individuals that are 15% to 20% higher than current law, the analysis also said. The White House has been downplaying the analysis in advance of its release, saying the nonpartisan agency's score is "meaningless."
Here are selected highlights of the Congressional Budget Office’s “scoring” of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is called the American Health Care Act.
• Coverage: “CBO and [the Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate. Some of those people would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties, and some people would forgo insurance in response to higher premiums. Later, following additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the nongroup market and to the Medicaid program, the increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise to 21 million in 2020 and then to 24 million in 2026.”
• Premiums: “The legislation would tend to increase average premiums in the nongroup market prior to 2020 and lower average premiums thereafter, relative to projections under current law. In 2018 and 2019, according to CBO and JCT’s estimates, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market would be 15% to 20% higher than under current law, mainly because the individual mandate penalties would be eliminated, inducing fewer comparatively healthy people to sign up.Starting in 2020, the increase in average premiums from repealing the individual mandate penalties would be more than offset by the combination of several factors that would decrease those premiums: grants to states from the Patient and State Stability Fund (which CBO and JCT expect to largely be used by states to limit the costs to insurers of enrollees with very high claims); the elimination of the requirement for insurers to offer planscovering certain percentages of the cost of covered benefits; and a younger mix of enrollees. By 2026, average premiums for single policyholders in the nongroup market under the legislation would be roughly 10% lower than under current law, CBO and JCT estimate.”