Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CBO Says Senate Bill Will Take Insurance From 22 Million

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its analysis of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) -- the Senate Republican bill to cut taxes for the rich disguised as a health care bill. And it's just as bad as we expected.

The bill would cause about 22 million people to lose their health insurance by 2026 -- raising the number of uninsured to 48 million Americans by that year. While that's a million fewer than the House bill (AHCA), the Senate cuts to Medicaid would continue after 2026 -- and that means the number of uninsured Americans would continue to rise after 2026.

While some of the rise in the uninsured would come from those currently purchasing their own policies or from employers no longer being required to purchase insurance for employees, most of those losing insurance would be people currently getting insurance help through Medicaid. The Medicaid program would be devastated.

The CBO also projected that insurance premiums would rise by 20% in 2018 and another 10% in 2019. After that, the average premium cost would go down. But that is not a cause for celebration. Current policies (under Obamacare) are required to pay about 70% of medical costs. But in 2020, they expect policies to cover only about 58% of costs -- meaning those policies will have fewer benefits and higher deductibles.

This means those buying individual plans might pay less for premiums, but if they get sick, they'll pay a lot more out of their own pockets for medical care. And it probably won't just be those who buy individual policies. We can expect a lot of employers to start buying plans for their employees that have fewer benefits and much higher deductibles.

The BCRA will do what it was intended to do -- give the richest Americans a huge tax cut. But to do that, the Senate Republicans will throw the poor, the working class, and even many in the middle class under the bus. It's a truly bad plan, and we can only hope it's defeated.

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