The Congressional Budget Office announced their score of the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act yesterday, July 19th, and it is now in last place on the leaderboard.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, had dismissed the CBO’s published findings of the BCRA – the Senate’s proposed healthcare reform bill – as being inaccurate and stated that they may break from a decades-old tradition and not seek the CBO’s input in future attempts at healthcare reform; however, it’s hard to argue with and dismiss the impact of this latest report.
The latest idea to get healthcare reform moving forward was to first repeal Obamacare, but to not actually roll back all of the requirements and protections of Obamacare until later on (maybe a year down the road), which would give law makers more time to work on a better alternative that would actually lowered premiums and the uninsured rate and stabilized the market.
Although there were a number of Republican Senators that were clear on their stance that this was not a good idea for Americans, the idea was supported by the President and discussions on how this could or would work began in the Senate.
CBO Analysis of BCRA Still Not Positive
Unfortunately for McConnell, who probably didn’t ask or want the CBO’s help on scoring this plan, the bipartisan federal agency analyzed the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act anyhow and their findings were bad.
First, a repeal-now and replace-later plan would absolutely not help stabilize the market and bring down premium prices. In fact, the CBO predicts that under an repeal-now, replace-later plan, premiums would be 25% higher in 2018, 50% higher by 2020 and would be double what they would be if Obamacare remained in place by 2026.
These astronomical premiums hikes would result in a mass exodus by carriers from the individual market, leaving nearly half of the population relying on the ACA without any insurance choices by 2020.
People living in markets with no insurance plan choices, people booted from Medicaid after it was rolled back to pre-Obamacare levels, and people who could simply not afford to pay for health insurance would result in an uninsured rate in 2018 that was 17 million more than if Obamacare remained in place. That uninsured rate would top out at 32 million more people by 2026 than if Obamacare continued to be the law of the land. If you recall, the CBO estimated that the AHCA (the House’s healthcare bill) would leave 23 million more people uninsured than under Obamacare and the BCRA (the Senate’s healthcare bill) would leave 22 million more people uninsured than under Obamacare.
Clearly the CBO is saying that something is better than nothing, but that Obamacare is still the best option.