The CBO Speaks: Republican Health Plan Cuts Serves the Rich, Screws the Poor

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The CBO Speaks: Republican Health Plan Cuts Serves the Rich, Screws the Poor

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released their score for the 2nd iteration of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), and it revealed that it’s not that much better than the initial version. Here is the prime takeaway from the document (H.R. 1628 is the AHCA):

CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under H.R. 1628 than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026. In 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

The GOP’s promise that they would still cover preexisting conditions? Bullshit (emphasis mine).

Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all—despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs. That instability would cause some people who would have been insured in the nongroup market under current law to be uninsured. Others would obtain coverage through a family member’s employer or through their own employer.

The AHCA will also raise premiums by 800% for seniors who are making $26,500 or less in states requesting waivers. Yes, seriously.

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The Republican Party passed a bill that throws an additional 23 million people off healthcare by 2026, basically eviscerates preexisting conditions, will sow chaos in insurance markets and makes health care completely unaffordable for some of the most vulnerable members of society. So why did they do this?

The disgust with this bill is not only limited to liberals, as conservative wonks are dismayed by this score.

Healthcare in America is broken, and instead of fixing the mess, the Republicans passed a tax cut disguised as a health care law. If Obamacare was placing a Band-Aid on a broken leg, then the AHCA is just sawing the leg off (without anesthesia, since that had to be cut in order to make sure the Koch brothers can afford a moat to surround their 17th estate). If the Republicans really wanted to fix the health care system, they would do something much more comprehensive, but then it would require the help of the Democrats. This legislation is not a health care law, but a budget bill. Because it’s constructed like this, the Republicans can pass it with a simple majority and it is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate.

It’s difficult to look at the AHCA and come to any conclusion other than the architects of this bill are fundamentally evil. As long as the richest Americans get yet another tax cut, they are willing to further impoverish poor senior citizens, eliminate coverage for preexisting conditions and throw millions off insurance. This is monstrous. History will not be kind to Paul Ryan and his cohort of cowards.

Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.

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