House GOP health bill projection: 23 million more uninsured

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The health care bill Republicans have pushed through the House would leave 23 million additional people uninsured in 2026 compared to President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The GOP bill would lower average premiums, but in part that would be because coverage would typically be skimpier.

In a blow to Republicans, the nonpartisan analysts were also critical of 11th-hour provisions that GOP leaders had added to pick up votes and assure the bill’s passage. Letting states get federal waivers so insurers could charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing medical conditions would mean those consumers would “ultimately be unable to purchase” comprehensive coverage at prices comparable to today’s costs, “if they could purchase at all.”

The report was the budget office’s first analysis of the GOP health care overhaul that the House narrowly approved this month with only Republican votes. Two budget office reports in March on initial versions of the bill projected that 24 million people would lose coverage, and that premiums would rise over the next two years but fall by 2026.

Wednesday’s analysis seemed to offer political ammunition for both parties. Democrats have savaged the GOP bill for tossing people off their coverage, threatening their benefits and jeopardizing coverage for people with serious, costly to treat medical conditions. Many Republicans have said they are largely focused on steps that will reduce premiums.

The House bill would also reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the next decade, according to the new projection. That’s slightly less than the $150 billion the office estimated in March.

The new estimates will serve as a starting point for GOP senators starting to write their own version of the legislation as they consider changing the House’s Medicaid cuts, tax credits and other policies.

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  • Chris

    Allowing something called money to interfere will resources available to help thy neighbor seems ungodly to me. But what do I know I’m just a snowflake that did not have a mean dad growing up and my needs were met.

  • Kevin Rahe

    If by “skimpier” coverage you mean that insurance would be less involved in basic and routine care, well that’s exactly what we need, as the excessive “insurance” many of us enjoyed the past few decades is the primary factor that has let prices for actual health care services rise as much as they have. And there’s no sense in noting how many people will lose coverage who only gained it through a program that has proven to be unsustainable. We have no choice but to start over on this matter, which may unfortunately mean starting over with the number of people who had health insurance prior to the ACA as well. Blame the Democrats’ short-sightedness for wasting all this time before we could start to work on a real solution.

    • Kevin Rahe

      It is true that if you don’t have assets to protect you don’t need insurance, which is probably the case for a good number of those 24 million. On the other hand, some of those 24 million should have health care insurance but cannot afford it, because the high and ever-rising cost of care has made insurance premiums too high. Obama blundered by thinking the government could forever bridge the gap between a percentage someone’s income and the cost of a service over which the government has little control (and which it made even more expensive by forcing it to cover things it otherwise wouldn’t have).

  • sunny

    Are we fed up with this complicated mess yet? Are we sick and tired of politicians and insurance companies playing with our loved ones’ lives? Getting and paying for necessary medical care doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to depend on what company you work for, fulltime or part-time, where you live, how old you are, how healthy or sick you are, or how much you earn and whether you “qualify” for one special program or not. Really. It can be as easy as paying a percentage of your income, deducted from your paycheck and matched by your employer or paid when you file your income taxes. Everybody with any income pays in and everybody gets the same things out. You get a card, see your doctor, get tests done, get prescriptions filled, check in and out of a hospital, and get well. Doctors and hospitals get paid. No collection agencies call. It’s time to stop the torture. It’s time for a single-payer system.