When Health Secretary Tom Price told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “nobody would be worse off financially” after Republicans finally repealed Obamacare and replaced it with Trumpcare, he was off by about 14 million in the short term (and 24 million over the long term). At least, that’s according to a new report out Monday from the Congressional Budget Office, which determined that many more people would become uninsured by 2018 (the 14 million figure) than current numbers indicate. What’s more, the non-partisan entity indicated even great numbers of Americans would become uninsured over the course of the next 10 years.
As startling as these numbers are, however, the report issued by the CBO in conjunction with the Joint Committee on Taxation determined “most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.” In other words, the increasing number of uninsured Americans under Trumpcare “would choose not to have insurance because they chose to be covered by insurance under current law only to avoid paying the penalties.” Then again, the report also indicated many may “forgo insurance in response to higher premiums” resulting from several of Trumpcare’s proposed overhauls of the existing law.
Along with planned changes to health insurance subsidies and Medicaid, the American Health Care Act may lead to at least 21 million uninsured persons by 2020. From there, the numbers continue to rise with up to 24 million uninsured Americans by 2026. A great deal of this change, as revealed by the report and CNN’s analysis of it, would be largely due to the aforementioned Medicaid changes — especially since many states want to discontinue the current system’s expansions for eligibility.
As for the Americans covered by the individual market, where people purchase health insurance sans federal, state or employee-provided healthcare, their numbers will change in a totally different manner. Whereas six million fewer people will be covered there by 2018, only two million fewer will use the individual market in 2026. Why? Because, as CNN notes, “Fewer employers would offer insurance to their workers, driving more people to the individual market.”
The CBO report adds Trumpcare in its current form will ultimately reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade. Whether or not this figure provides Republicans and AHCA supporters with enough ammunition for the public relations defense they’re about to launch, however, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan seems very confused about what the report’s numbers mean…