The Congressional Budget Office says 14 million people will lose their health insurance coverage next year if Congress approves the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The nonpartisan CBO Monday released its long-awaited report on the cost of carrying out one of President Donald Trump’s favorite campaign promises — repealing and replacing Obamacare. It says if the Republican plan is adopted, 14 million people will be uninsured in 2018, with that number ballooning to 52 million by 2026 — almost twice as many people who would not have insurance if Obamacare remained intact.
But the CBO said a new health care plan would cut the federal deficit by $337 billion between now and 2026. The new plan also would eliminate the tax penalty for anyone who decides not to buy insurance — a provision that will please many conservatives who call it an example of big government interfering in people’s private choices.
In what will be a highly troubling provision for most Democrats and some moderate Republicans, the new Trump plan would end federal funds for at least one year for Planned Parenthood and affiliates that provide birth control, family planning and abortions. It said those most likely to feel the effects would “probably reside in areas without health care, clinics, or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations.”
CBO number ‘impossible’
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price criticized the report, telling reporters outside the White House that the CBO only looked at part of the new Republican health care plan. He said it is “impossible” for the plan to leave 14 million people with no health coverage, because premiums will actually go down and people can pick their own insurance, instead of a plan that suits the government.
Price also said the CBO did not take into consideration all of the pieces that would be part of plan, including pending legislation to reform the insurance market.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to pull the bill, saying it is “the only decent thing to do.” The leader of Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, said: “Trumpcare would be a nightmare for the American people.” He said it benefits the rich while giving everyone else “the cold shoulder.”
The Affordable Care Act is one of former President Barack Obama’s proudest achievements. Twenty million people who previously could not afford health insurance are now covered, and do not face bankruptcy and poverty in case of a devastating illness.
But Trump calls Obamacare a “disaster,” and says it is collapsing because of rising premiums, the cost to small businesses, and lack of choice for consumers.
Obamacare also became infamous for its difficult introduction in 2013 that included computer failures and a confusing bureaucracy.
Trump has promised that his health plan will “cover everybody” and offer cheaper policies for individuals and small groups of people who buy insurance for themselves rather than getting coverage through their jobs.
Republican lawmakers want to retain two of the most popular features of Obamacare — banning insurers from dropping coverage for anyone because of a pre-existing medical condition, and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ policies until they turn 26.