Tuesday, March 14, 2017

GOP's AHCA is not a "thing of beauty"

From the morning email (“Significant Digits”):
24 million people
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 under the American Health Care Act, congressional Republicans’ proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. If enacted, the AHCA would cut the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years but would push the share of Americans without insurance coverage back to pre-ACA levels, according to the CBO. [FiveThirtyEight]

The FiveThirtyEight report explains more about how The GOP Health Plan Would Drop Coverage To Pre-Obamacare Levels, The CBO Says and more.

Republicans have worked hard in recent weeks to convince members of the public that they shouldn’t be concerned if official projections show millions of people will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act, a House GOP bill that would repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Instead, they should focus on access and cost. Those talking points came ahead of a highly anticipated report from the Congressional Budget Office,1 the nonpartisan agency that estimates the economic effects of legislation, that was expected to show a decrease in insurance coverage under the GOP bill. The report came out today, and it’s easy to see why the Republican focus has been on cost, not coverage.

According to the CBO report, an estimated 24 million people would lose health insurance by 2026. Between now and then, however, federal deficits would be reduced by $337 billion, despite billions in tax cuts included in the bill. The biggest savings would come from cuts to Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, though other savings are also taken into account, like a $9 billion cut to a fund for prevention and public health programs.

In other words, the deficit reduction is achieved on the backs of the working class, the poor, the elderly, and the sick.

Winners and losers

The New York Times reports on who comes out ahead under the GOP plan and who comes out behind, Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion, Report Says.

For example, if you are 21 years old you gain $250 under the GOP plan. But if you are 64 years old, you lose a whopping $12,900.

… the analysis does show that under the Republican plan there would be winners — and losers. Under current law, in 2026, a single 21-year-old earning $26,500 with an insurance policy that costs $5,100 a year would get a tax credit of $3,400 and would have to pay $1,700 of the premium. Under the Republican bill, that person’s share of the cost would drop to $1,450.

By contrast, a 64-year-old earning the same amount would fare much worse. That person’s $15,300 health plan would be offset by a $13,600 tax credit under current law, leaving the consumer responsible for $1,700. Under the Republican plan, health insurers would be free to charge older people more, raising that person’s premium to $19,500. But the tax credit would be only $4,900, and that person’s share of the premium would then be $14,600.

House Republicans would allow insurers to sell health plans covering a smaller share of consumers’ medical costs, and cost-sharing subsidies for low-income people would be repealed in 2020. As a result, the budget office said, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for many consumers would be substantially higher than under the Affordable Care Act.

And let’s not forget that the GOP plan cancels some of the revenue under ACA thus awarding the richest Americans a nice tax cut.

All this led Trump to pronounce the GOP plan to be “a thing of beauty".

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