On Monday afternoon, many in the news industry waited with baited breath for the Congressional Budget office to drop its estimate of the cost of Trumpcare, the Republican’s proposed replacement for Obamacare.
The CBO report, released shortly after 4 p.m. EST, said that overall, the Republican plan would decrease the government’s financial deficit, but would pass that cost-cutting on to the insured by raising premium rates 15 to 20 percent, and would kick 24 million more Americans out of the healthcare system entirely by 2024.
According to the Congressional Budget office, the repeal of Obamacare and the implementation of Trumpcare would result in a reduction in the federal deficit of $377 billion between 2017 and 2026. That was not unexpected considering how many cuts the new healthcare plan made. While Republicans will no doubt celebrate a reduction in deficit, what they will have to answer to still is the massive gap in coverage under their plan.
According to the CBO, the number of Americans who would lose health insurance coverage under the AHCA is much worse than previously predicted. All told, by 2024, as many as 24 million Americans could find themselves without insurance. The report says that the majority of these Americans will lose their coverage from individual states’ reduction in medicaid, meaning that many Americans will no longer be eligible for federally-funded healthcare under Trumpcare.
Of course, the number of uninsured Americans will have a direct affect on the cost-saving measures of the new healthcare plan. Having 24 million fewer Americans with access to healthcare means higher costs from E.R. visits by uninsured Americans, as well as a dramatically increased number of Americans dying from preventable diseases. As is often the case, these cuts will disproportionately affect low-income minority Americans.
According to the CBO, the majority of the cash saved in the Republican’s healthcare plan will come from reduced spending on Medicaid and subsidies. Meanwhile, the AHCA will cost Taxpayers by rolling back taxes on high-income Americans, sticking low and middle class Americans with the tab.
Finally, the CBO predicts that under the new healthcare plan, premiums will increase by 15 to 20 percent, mostly due to the elimination of the mandate.
Republicans released their healthcare replacement plan just under a week ago, and while the new healthcare plan provided many details, it seemed to leave off any estimate of cost, a worrying feature. In addition to neglecting to list any sort of cost estimate, the plan failed to estimate how many Americans would lose coverage under the new plan, or provide ways that the plan could be paid for out of the federal budget.
No news is good news, as they say, but the omission of these key details only seemed to spell disaster.
Now that the CBO has laid the cards on the table, the American people can better judge if this cheaper, more exclusionary healthcare plan is the answer they wanted.