The economy may be struggling to create enough jobs to keep up with population growth, but Republicans are busy drafting legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a law which the Supreme Court upheld last week and has already extended coverage for thousands of uninsured Americans.
On Monday, the GOP will convene an “emergency” meeting in the Rules Committee so they could hold a vote on The “Repeal of Obamacare Act” as early as Wednesday July, 11. The seven page messaging bill compiles the best Republican talking points against the law since it passed in 2010, but offers only the smallest hint of how the party plans to extend coverage to the millions who would lose it. “The path to patient-centered care and lower costs for all Americans must begin with a full repeal of the law,” the bill says on page six.
This free market mantra may resonate with the GOP base, but it does nothing to improve the economy or solve the health care crisis. Below are 5 consequences of the GOP’s repeal legislation:
1) Millions without coverage. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the GOP’s repeal measure from 2011 found that “32 million fewer nonelderly people would have health insurance in 2019, leaving a total of about 54 million nonelderly people uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, compared with a projected share of 94 percent under current law (and 83 percent currently).”
2) Health insurance costs increase. The same analysis concluded that “many people would end up paying more for health insurance— because under current law, the majority of enrollees purchasing coverage in that market would receive subsidies via the insurance exchanges, and [repeal] would eliminate those subsidies.” What’s more, “Premiums for employment-based coverage obtained through large employers would be slightly higher.”
3) Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose access to coverage. Republicans have said that they would not replace the Affordable Care Act’s federal rules prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Instead, they would encourage states to form expensive high-risk pools to cover the sick or, alternatively, leave them to find their own coverage in the individual market — where many will likely go uninsured.
4) Medicare in disarray. Approximately 100 million Medicare claims are processed each month using a formula that was altered by the Affordable Care Act. Should the law be repealed, new rates could not be calculated under the old, pre-ACA formula until after a rulemaking process that can take months before is completed. The result would be that Medicare would not be able to pay doctors for what could be many months.
5) Deficits increase by billions. The CBO predicts that “as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion.” Repeal would also “increase federal deficits in the decade after 2019 by an amount that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.”