CBO report: Obamacare repeal bill to leave 24 million more uninsured, save $337 billion in budget

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its highly-anticipated analysis of the new legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare on Monday afternoon, including findings that the law will leave millions more people uninsured compared to the current health care law.

The CBO report finds that under the American Health Care Act, which repeals the Affordable Care Act signed into law by former President Barack Obama, 14 million more people would be uninsured than under current law by 2018.

"Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate," according to the report.

The report also suggests that the deficit of uninsured Americans would rise to 24 million in 2026 and the report also indicates the legislation bill "would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion" by 2026 as well.

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The primary impacts on the uninsured rate will come from changes to those who purchase nongroup health insurance, made up of people who use the insurance marketplace established by Obamacare to purchase insurance outside of an employer plan or other health option.

The initial growth in the uninsured rate would likely be driven by people opting to not buy health insurance once the mandate disappears, but the report suggests the increasing costs of insurance premiums would drive even more consumers to opt out in the ensuring years.

The report finds the average premiums would increase until 2020, and then begin to decline after that point. Those costs in 2018 and 2019 are expected to be 15 to 20 percent higher than they would have been under Obamacare. By 2026 those premiums should decrease by 10 percent from projected costs under Obamacare for those health insurance consumers.

The CBO report also reinforces analyses from other experts suggesting the proposal would be costlier for older Americans than for younger ones.

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"Under the legislation, premiums for older people could be five times larger than those for younger people in many states, but the size of the tax credits for older people would only be twice the size of the credits for younger people," the report states. "Because of that difference in how much the tax credits would cover, CBO and JCT estimate that, under the legislation, a larger share of enrollees in the nongroup market would be younger people and a smaller share would be older people."

The projection of 24 million fewer people being insured by 2026 than under current law is based on three major expected changes. The report states that approximately 14 million fewer would enroll in Medicaid, two million fewer would "obtain coverage through the nongroup market" and another seven million would be expected to opt out of employer-based coverage.

"Part of that net reduction in employment-based coverage would occur because fewer employees would take up the offer of such coverage in the absence of the individual mandate penalties," the report notes. "In addition, CBO and JCT expect that, over time, fewer employers would offer health insurance to their workers."

The bill has been subject to criticism from both Democrats, who do not want to see Obamacare repealed, and by conservative Republicans, who think it keeps too much of Obamacare in place.

The scoring analysis was produced in cooperation with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

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