So when the Congressional Budget Office released a dismal forecast for the American Health Care Act, projecting 23 million fewer people would have insurance under the Republican law in 10 years, House Speaker Paul Ryan tried to focus on the bright side.
Senate Republicans have said they will write their own bill, which U.S. Sen.
In the final days before the House voted on its repeal bill, Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey proposed a way out.
Acknowledging that it can’t pinpoint which states might seek the waiver, CBO analysts project that one-sixth of the US population reside in states that could choose not to cover essential health services and may opt to charge people with preexising conditions more in in premiums than healthy people.
“This bill is a lump of coal”, he said in March.
But Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the bill “dangerous, deadly and deeply flawed”.
“About 20 million people nationally are going to lose their coverage if this budget goes through, like I said over 400,000 of them are here in Arizona”, said DJ Quinlan, a spokesman for the Arizona Alliance for Healthcare Security.
This is a key point of disagreement between Republicans and the CBO, and would reflect a crucial flaw in the Republican bill.
But the CBO report said the amendment would make it hard or impossible for people in poor health to purchase comprehensive coverage in some states. And I do not think the Senate of the United States will take up the bill from the House.
But two small-business groups, the Main Street Alliance and the Small Business Majority, said the bill could hurt their members, many of whom rely on the individual insurance market for their coverage. It did not guess which states might do that, but the report says that one-sixth of the population could be subject to that instability.
The report said while average premiums would be lower than they would be under current law, largely for young and healthy individuals, many would have to pay more. Some 23 million fewer people would be insured over the next decade, more than half of those because of an $800 billion gouge to Medicaid.
Benefits likely to be excluded from required coverage in some states would include maternity, mental health and substance abuse services, the report said. The estimates were more accurate than the Obama administration’s predictions, as well as the Urban Institute and the RAND corporation. They have also declined to give details about their emerging measure, which is expected to look different from a House-passed bill that has drawn criticism from some Republicans who say it went too far in undoing Obamacare.
Rick Pollack, president of the American Hospital Association, issued a statement that said: “We can not support legislation that the CBO clearly indicates would jeopardize coverage for millions of Americans”.
But the reaction was not completely partisan. Sen. The House-passed bill, he said, “does not”.
Miller expects the Senate will work to reduce the number of people left without healthcare by 4 million-5 million people, bringing it below 19 million.