GOP Healthcare Bill To Save $337 Billion, But Leave Over 20 Million Uninsured [Opinion]

The new GOP healthcare bill, called the American Health Care Act, will save money, but while on the surface this sounds great, the same bill will leave over 20 million people uninsured in the process, according to a recent report. The analysis of the most recent report has several people in Congress at odds, even the Republicans who want to replace Obamacare as quickly as possible. However, the most recent findings do not look good for the GOP.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office, also known as the CBO, released their very anticipated report regarding the GOP’s new healthcare bill, which would replace Obamacare. The CBO claimed in their report that the American Health Care Act that at least 14 million more people would be left uninsured than those under the current Obamacare law. They claimed that this had more to do with penalties.

“Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.”

The report from the CBO also claims that the deficit of people uninsured in the United States would end up rising to around 24 million people in 2026. However, the report also indicates that the bill “would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion” by the same year. The report claims that the main people impacted by the uninsured situation would be those who purchased non-group health insurance plans. This was made up of people who used the Healthcare Marketplace under Obamacare as a means to purchase insurance outside of an employer plan, or add other health options.

Paul Ryan House

It is assumed that the initial growth in the uninsured rate would most likely be driven by people who do not wish to buy insurance, because of the federal mandate forcing them to buy insurance disappears under the GOP plan. However, the report from the CBO also claims that increased costs in insurance premiums would also drive more people to not buy in as well.

The CBO believes that the average premium rate would continue to increase until the year 2020, and then there would be an expected decline after this point. What is so startling is that in 2018 and 2019, the expected increases would be at least 15 to 20 percent more than they would have been under the Obamacare plan. This means that those premiums that people could not afford, and a primary reason for voting Donald Trump into office, would actually remain until his first term ended.

However, if the healthcare law from the GOP is put into place by 2026, the premiums would end up declining by 10 percent from the projected costs under Obamacare. This means that at least two sitting presidents would be in office before health insurance would ever start to go down for Americans. Theoretically, the GOP feels their plan will create competition and thus, prices would go down. However, the CBO clearly points out that this is certainly not the case for nearly 10 years.

On top of this, as expected, the CBO also supported other analyst conclusions on the bill regarding older people. They feel just like several others that this GOP plan would be far more costly on older Americans than younger ones.

Tom Price

“Under the legislation, premiums for older people could be five times larger than those for younger people in many states, but the size of the tax credits for older people would only be twice the size of the credits for younger people. Because of that difference in how much the tax credits would cover, CBO and JCT estimate that, under the legislation, a larger share of enrollees in the nongroup market would be younger people and a smaller share would be older people.”

This is also a prime voting poll for President Trump. If, by chance, he did not want to alienate a core audience, he would most likely want to avoid the GOP bill as it stands right now. However, a lot could be easily changed. The tax credit situation is completely flawed, as pointed out by several financial analysts from the start. If tweaked to where the GOP simply went on income, they might actually see a difference that works for any and all Americans. Instead, they’re basing their figures on age.

Older people may also take another hit when it comes to Medicaid. In fact, all Americans are seeing a problem with the GOP bill when it comes to Medicaid at the end of the day. The projected 24 million fewer people uninsured is being cited by at least 14 million of those people being unable to take part in Medicaid. An extra 2 million would be unable to obtain coverage through a non-group market, while another 7 million would, of course, opt out of health insurance altogether.

“Part of that net reduction in employment-based coverage would occur because fewer employees would take up the offer of such coverage in the absence of the individual mandate penalties. In addition, CBO and JCT expect that, over time, fewer employers would offer health insurance to their workers.”

AHCA

As the bill currently stands, it is being opposed by seemingly every side in Congress. Only a small group of Republicans are behind it, while every Democrat is against it. While both President Trump and Vice President Pence have stated that they support the new bill, many believe they are doing the political thing of supporting their party and not so much promoting the fact that the bill is solid enough to pass.

In fact, Trump has been largely absent from all talk on the bill, besides saying he supports the GOP and the bill. However, it is obvious that a major core of his supporters wanted to see lower premiums, as did literally every other American on a health plan. On top of this, due to the fact that older Americans will be impacted the most, as well as those who are in lower- to middle-income households, it does not make sense for the bill to be supported as is.

Therefore, due to all the contention in Congress right now, many expect the bill to be passed by the House but be dropped when it reaches the Senate. From there, the House would then work to make changes to make sure the bill is passable by the time it goes back up to the Senate. Ohio governor John Kasich recently called for a bipartisan team-up on the new healthcare bill. That may be exactly what it takes for it to ultimately pass and then go to Trump to become a law.

[Featured Image By Susan Walsh/AP Images]