Tuesday, March 14, 2017

DEAD ON ARRIVAL: CBO Says Under TrumpCare 24 Million Will Lose Insurance And Premiums Will Rise On Older, Poorer Americans

Remember on the campaign trail when Donald Trump would get all red faced and scream that his Obamacare replacement would ensure “insurance for everybody” and tweet that coverage would be “much less expensive & FAR BETTER!

Yeah, about that.

Today the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation "scored" the Republican's replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act and concluded that their plan would increase the number of Americans without health coverage by 24 million.

Talk about death panels.

To add insult to injury the CBO predicted that if the plan were enacted in the next year it would result in a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in premiums for older people with lower incomes.

The Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), which the Republicans are trying to “replace”, not only extended health coverage to 20 million previously uninsured Americans and reduced the national uninsured rate to the lowest ever recorded but stunted the growth of health care premiums to it's slowest rate in decades.

This leaves the new Trumpcare plan with failing grades on all fronts.

Some other notable failures of the plan...

Older people with lower incomes would disproportionately lack coverage because the legislation allows insurers to charge them higher rates than they do now and the financial assistance provided doesn’t adequately offset that. More low-income people in general would lack health coverage because the GOP bill’s tax credits wouldn’t be large enough to make insurance affordable.

Premiums for 64-year-olds would be 20 percent to 25 percent higher by 2026, even as they declined 8 percent to 10 percent for 40-year-olds and 20 percent to 25 percent for 21-year-olds. Those prices are for policies that generally would offer fewer benefits than plans sold today on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.

Republicans still in favor of the bill tout that Trumpcare would not exclude individual with pre-existing conditions and would allow children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents health insurance.

Yet the bill would eliminate the fines associated with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, wind down the extra federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and scrap the income-based tax credits for private insurance. The question then becomes how would they pay for the aforementioned entitlements?

In more bad news for the bill the CBO found that the legislation dramatically remakes the federal-state Medicaid program's open-ended financing structure that bases federal spending on the medical costs incurred by beneficiaries and replacing that with a system in which states get a flat allotment per person.

The problem with this development is that the allotment would grow more slowly than projected Medicaid costs. This would force states to come up with additional money, reduce what they pay medical providers or cut either people or benefits from the program. Medicaid enrollment would shrink by 17 percent, or 14 million people, by 2026 compared to that under the present ACA numbers.

Some of the only good news for the bill was that it would reduce the federal budget deficit.

Unfortunately it would achieve this by reducing spending on health care programs for the low and middle classes by a larger amount than the tax cuts the bill offers the wealthiest Americans and health care corporations.

At least the 1% and billion dollar corporations will be taken care of.

These negative findings are already causing congressional GOP leaders, who were already embroiled in a major struggle to embrace the legislation, to implode.

Incomprehensibly Conservative Republicans in Congress are actually protesting that the legislation provides too much federal assistance for low-and middle-income households.

The Republican legislation has attracted opposition from major health care groups, including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, AARP and the American Hospital Association while lobbying organizations for health insurers neither rejected nor endorsed the bill.

As expected Republicans have already come out en force to attack the CBO and their scoring of Trump's new health care bill.

FACT CHECK: Since 1975, CBO has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process and the current director of the agency, Keith Hall, is a former George W. Bush White House official who received his current position with Paul Ryan’s and Tom Price’s support.

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