Published: Fri, June 30, 2017
Sci-tech | By Javier West

CBO says Senate health bill picks your pocket

CBO says Senate health bill picks your pocket

The Senate Republican healthcare bill could see 4 million people with employer-provided health insurance lose their coverage, according to a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The office has estimated that there are now 26 million uninsured Americans; that would increase to 49 million by 2026 under the Senate Republican plan, according to CBO. It would provide $321 billion in savings over 10 years, compared with the House bill's $119 billion. "Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!"

Perhaps most notably, the bill includes deep cuts to Medicaid, a public health insurance program that covers almost one in five Americans, including low-income, disabled and elderly people. They have indicated that they would not submit further amendments to the BCRA for an improved CBO score.

The waiting-period proposal is meant to address a conspicuous omission in the Senate's bill: The measure would end the Affordable Care Act's mandate that almost all Americans have health insurance, but it also would require insurers to accept anyone who applies. Most Americans who buy insurance on the individual market would actually end up paying more for health care, even if their premiums went down.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can now move forward to make changes to the BCRA, or move to hold a vote this week.

Senate Republicans may quibble with how the CBO scored their legislation, attempting to discredit the nonpartisan analysis.

Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders has criticised the proposed bill and said that lives were at stake if it passes.

The coverage loss largely comes from the changes the bill makes to Medicaid.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn tweeted on Monday that there needs to be a vote on the Senate bill this week "before double digit premium increases are announced for next year".

The CBO's estimate of the plan's effect on the number of uninsured Americans could influence whether Republican senators support it, as GOP leaders walk a thin line in trying to win the votes needed to pass their plan. Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who has voiced skepticism about the bill, told CNN after the CBO report that she needed more information before she could decide how to vote.

Also, senators would eliminate the mandates that require almost all Americans to have coverage and companies with more than 50 workers to provide health benefits.

SHAPIRO: And this bill would not only roll back the Affordable Care Act.

Those estimates are slightly-but not significantly-better than the CBO's projections for the House Republican version of the bill that passed in late May.

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