CBO estimates 22 million more uninsured by 2026 under Senate health plan

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Carolyn Kaster/AP

(Via ABC News)

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million more people will be uninsured by the end of the next 10 years under the Senate Republican health care plan than under current law, with 15 million more uninsured persons in the next year alone.

The number, which is only a slight improvement from the CBO’s estimate of the health care bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, comes in the office’s analysis of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a draft of which was released last week.

The act, which faces opposition from Democrats and concerns from at least five Republicans in the Senate — enough to block its passage — could further result in a reduction of the cumulative federal deficit by $321 billion by 2026, largely due to cuts in Medicaid spending, according to the CBO’s report.

A decrease in spending on Medicaid, estimated by the CBO to be a 26 percent cut by 2026 compared to projections under the current law, was a point of contention for a number of senators when the draft of the plan was released last week. The decrease would result in a 16 percent drop in enrollment for the government-funded program, according to the CBO.

A rollback of the expanded Medicaid programs that exist under current law in some states would hit the group of people earning just above the national poverty line the hardest, the CBO estimates.

Just under 40 percent of adults aged 30 to 49 years old who make under $24,000 (for an individual based on today’s poverty line) would not have insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill, according to one figure in the organization’s report.

The CBO report states that a fair number of younger Americans would likely see their insurance premiums go down if they chose high-deductive, catastrophic coverage plans. Older Americans, or people who want to purchase higher-valued plans with lower deductibles or more extensive coverage, could see their premiums increase significantly.

The Republican plan allows states to apply for waivers from current standards and benchmarks for insurance plans. Through the waiver system, states could let insurance companies offer plans without baseline “Essential Health Benefits” (EHBs) — maternity care and emergency services, among them — and reinstate lifetime or annual caps that were banned under Obamacare.

The CBO estimates that about half of the country’s population would end up living in states with EHBs waived.