Obamacare repeal bill increases number of uninsured by 23 million, reduces deficits over next decade: CBO report


The Congressional Budget Office and staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released a highly anticipated score of the House-passed American Health Care Act of 2017 on Thursday, estimating that it would "reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over the coming decade and increase the number of people who are uninsured by 23 million in 2026 relative to current law."

The legislation, which repeals and replaces Obamacare, passed the House earlier this month.

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The Senate has yet to vote on the bill, and Senators have been working on their own version of the legislation.

The nonpartisan congressional agency scored an earlier version of the legislation, which failed to pass the House during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency, and found the current version saves $32 billion less.

Congress is aiming to pass the bill under a process called reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority of votes in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority, instead of 60 votes. Under those rules, all elements of the bill must have a direct budgetary impact or else they must be stricken from the legislation.

The CBO said federal deficits would fall by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the Republican bill.

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The House bill would eliminate most Obamacare taxes that help subsidize private health coverage for individuals, roll back the government's Medicaid health plan for the poor and disabled and replace the law's income-based tax credits for buying medical coverage with credits based on age.

A group of 13 Republican senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to draft their own version of the healthcare bill in the coming months.

The new CBO score predicts the AHCA would cover 1 million more Americans than a previous version of the bill, which the agency estimated would have left 24 million more people uninsured than Obamacare in 2026.

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In the weeks leading up to the House vote on May 4, two controversial amendments were added to the bill that ultimately helped secure its passage, including one that was added the day before the vote.

One amendment would allow states to opt out of a popular Obamacare provision that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher rates, as well as one that required insurers to cover 10 essential health benefits such as maternity care and prescription drugs.

Another amendment allocates an additional $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions cover medical costs.

Trump promised to repeal Obamacare immediately upon taking office in January but replacing the program that provided health insurance to 20 million people poses political risks.

(AOL and Reuters contributed to this report)