Trumpcare could cost 24 million people their insurance, government analysis finds

The Congressional Budget Office just released its much anticipated report. Republicans were right to be scared.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. CREDIT: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

The Congressional Budget Office released its long awaited analysis of Trumpcare on Monday afternoon, and its findings were grim.

The CBO found that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2018 under the House GOP’s health care plan. By 2026, a full 24 million people would have gone uninsured relative to the number of people expected to be insured under the Affordable Care Act. The increase stems mostly from Trumpcare’s repeal of the individual mandate and changes to Medicaid.

The House GOP’s plan would get rid of the individual mandate that requires all Americans to sign up for health insurance, and would instead introduce a provision requiring continuous coverage. If anyone tries to go without insurance for two months or more, they would be required to pay 30 percent more on their premiums once they resumed coverage. Health care experts say this won’t be enough to keep healthy people in the market.

The plan would also phase out Medicaid expansion and restructure how the program is funded. Health care experts also say they are concerned that tax credits won’t benefit low-income people the way they did under the ACA, and that things like health savings accounts won’t be enough to help the Americans who need help the most. Overall, low-income people, women, people with chronic illnesses, and people with mental health issues would suffer the most under this plan.

The CBO also projected that premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher overall in 2018 and 2019. The cost would start to decline in 2020, but older enrollees would still pay substantially higher premiums than young people, because insurers would be permitted to charge then five times as much. Under the ACA, insurers can only charge older people up to three times more than younger people.

Republicans on the Hill and in the Trump administration, perhaps anticipating a report with these findings, started casting doubt on the CBO’s accuracy well before Monday’s report came out.

“So I love the folks at the CBO, they work really hard, they do, but sometimes we ask them to do stuff they’re not capable of doing, and estimating the impact of a bill this size isn’t the — isn’t the best use of their time,” Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, told ABC News on Sunday.

The CBO estimated that enacting Trumpcare would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the 2017–2026 period. There would be a $1.2 trillion reduction in outlays, with the largest savings coming from changes to Medicaid and the elimination of the ACA’s subsidies for non-group health insurance. There would a reduction of $880 billion in federal outlays for Medicaid.