GOP's ACA repeal would cut insured by 32 million, CBO says

(Bloomberg) – A Republican fallback plan to repeal all of the ACA without a replacement health program would lead to 32 million more people uninsured than under current law, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

That’s about 10 million more uninsured than the estimated 22 million people who wouldn’t be covered under a previous Senate Republican bill to replace many parts of the ACA. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate may vote on the measure as soon as next week, though support for it is uncertain.

mcconnell-mitch-bl357.jpg

The full-repeal proposal is called the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act. It’s an updated version of a bill that Republicans passed in 2015 that was vetoed by then-president Barack Obama. The proposal would repeal the ACA’s coverage expansion in two years, giving lawmakers time to come up with a replacement.

Republicans are scrambling to come up with a way forward on their 7-year-old promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McConnell has so far failed to unify his caucus and bring a bill to a vote after moderates and conservatives defected over conflicting objections to the plans.

A prior measure, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, didn’t attract enough votes to start debate after two conservative senators defected from the effort on Monday night. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump called lawmakers to the White House to try and find a way forward with that bill or another.

The repeal-only proposal would have grave effects on the market for individual insurance where many in the ACA currently get their plans. CBO estimated that the repeal would result in about half of the population living in areas where no insurer would offer plans in the nongroup market by 2020, a number that increases to about three-fourths of Americans by 2026.

The proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $473 billion over 10 years, according to the CBO, compared to $321 billion under the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The savings in both plans come from rolling back the ACA’s expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor and ending or limiting subsidies to help people purchase insurance.