Trumpcare will cut costs but will leave millions uninsured in the process.
When the Trump administration and Speaker Paul Ryan rolled out the American Health Care Act (aka Trumpcare), pundits asked a lot of questions. There was one in particular that Republicans and Democrats could agree on: what would the Congressional Budget Office say?
The Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, is a nonpartisan legislative office that assesses potential legislation. Business Insider calls a CBO score “the legislative equivalent of an environmental-impact report required before a skyscraper is built.” In other words, it’s a hugely important part of any policy proposal.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle have asserted that the CBO’s assessment needs to be a serious consideration when it comes to assessing the AHCA, though the White House started to preemptively critique the accuracy of the CBO’s previous findings in the days before it released its AHCA report.
The CBO released its findings today, and they were a bit of a doozy.
The CBO released its findings today, and they were a bit of a doozy. Let’s break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good (also known as the number that fiscal conservatives will tout): The CBO estimates that the legislation would shave $337 billion off the federal deficit from 2017 – 2026.
The ugly: Insurance premiums will increase up to 20 percent when healthy people forego health insurance. While the increase in insurance premiums will be offset by other factors by 2020, there’s even more bad news depending on your age: there won’t be any protections for folks who are older and therefore more likely to be ill. As such, the CBO estimates that insurers could charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones. Currently, insurers can only charge three times more.
The ugliest (otherwise known as how many people will lose their insurance coverage): The big debate here wasn’t if the CBO would report that people would lose their insurance coverage, but rather how many people would lose coverage. The Brookings Institute, a think tank, estimated at least 15 million. Chris Jacobs, a conservative healthcare policy analyst, reported that the number could be 10 – 20 million people.
The final number: 24 million.
As of July 2016, the U.S. population is about 323 million people. This means that under this legislation, seven percent of Americans will lose their insurance.
So, we’ll save some money. But at what cost?