House GOP leaders’ amended Obamacare repeal bill would cost billions more — without covering more people, according to a new report by the CBO.
The slate of changes offered by House GOP leaders this week as they sought more support for their bill to partly repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cost $186 billion more over 10 years compared to their initial version, according to a 10-page report from the nonpartisan scorekeeper.
The American Health Care Act is now expected to reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years, a decrease from the $337 billion initially projected.And it still forecasts that 24 million fewer people will have insurance in a decade.
The estimated cost of premiums would also be about the same. CBO has predicted that the average premium for an individual plan would jump between 15 and 20 percent over the next two years. By 2026, premiums would be 10 percent lower than they would have been under current law.
The revisions, which were packed into a “manager’s amendment” on Monday, had been intended to win over more House Republicans. They included larger tax credits for older Americans, new restrictions on Medicaid expansion and an expedited repeal of Obamacare taxes.
Those changes had been expected to cost more than the GOP’s initial bill, though Republican leaders had hoped it would show that fewer people would lose coverage. The GOP’s package was thrown into doubt on Thursday, after House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a planned vote on the measure.
Republicans are still reeling from the CBO’s initial estimate that found their plan would leave 24 million people uninsured over 10 years. The scorekeeper’s latest analysis leaves that estimate unchanged.
CBO did acknowledge that slightly fewer people would lose Medicaid coverage because of a change that would boost federal dollars for coverage for elderly and disabled beneficiaries. But the agency said that other Medicaid changes “would offset some of those effects.”
The decrease in savings is likely to draw fire from fiscal conservatives, without appeasing more moderate Republicans worried about millions of people losing their coverage.And none of the deficit reduction will kick in until after President Donald Trump’s first term in office. In fact,the GOP’s bill will add $104.7 billion to the deficit through 2020, according to CBO.
The costliest changes would come from repealing Obamacare’s taxes one year earlier — a total of $137 billion over a decade. The Medicaid changes would cost $41 billion over a decade.
House Republicans had planned to take up their health care bill Thursday, but that vote was scuttled after a last-minute meeting between Trump and the Freedom Caucus failed to secure the needed votes.
The CBO score does present a procedural challenge, if and when the bill is revived in the House.
Under budget rules, lawmakers can’t propose any amendment to a reconciliation bill that would lower the amount of deficit reduction. That rule will need to be waived in the House Rules Committee, or Democrats could call a “point of order” to strip out that language from the bill.
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