The Republican’s signature healthcare legislation would leave 23 million fewer Americans with health insurance in the next decade, according to a new report released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO assessment of the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—which Republicans narrowly pushed through the House last month—estimated that if enacted, an estimated 51 million people under the age of 65 would be uninsured in 2026, compared to the 28 million who lack insurance under the current law.
The report also estimated that the deficit would come down by $119 billion over the next decade if the AHCA replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often known as Obamacare.
While some premiums are expected to go down (a major point for Republicans wanting to replace the ACA), the CBO estimated that beginning in 2020—when new tax credits under the AHCA take effect—people who are “less healthy” and those with pre-existing conditions would “ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive non-group health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all—despite the additional funding available” under the AHCA.
“As a result, the non-group markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs,” the report states. “That instability would cause some people who would have been insured in the non-group market under current law to be uninsured.”
While Republicans have been trying to repeal the ACA since former President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, the law has become embedded in the nation’s healthcare system and many people have grown accustomed to being able to afford some type of health insurance.
Many Republican lawmakers have faced angry crowds of constituents as they ramped up and eventually wrote the AHCA.
The AHCA would alter key provisions of the ACA, including the elimination of the tax penalty on Americans who fail to maintain health insurance coverage, the addition of state-level waivers on coverage of “essential benefits,” and cutting federal funds for Medicaid.
Perhaps most controversially, the AHCA would also weaken the ACA provision requiring insurers to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions.
The report also found that in states request waivers under the AHCA premiums for low-income people over the age of 64 would see premiums skyrocket.
The findings will likely be a blow to House Republicans, especially as the bill faces the more moderate Senate, where lawmakers are expected to write their own version of the bill.