23M more to lose health care under Republican plan

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A Republican plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care law will result in 23 million more Americans without insurance than current numbers, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Wednesday. reports citing Anadolu news agency.

The number is just 1 million shy of those who would have been without coverage under an earlier draft Republican leadership was forced to pull due to a lack of support.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the revised version before the CBO could issue its assessment of the bill -- prompting criticism from many who voiced concerns about the bill's potential impacts. It is currently headed to the Republican-held Senate where its future remains uncertain.

The CBO's assessment will likely figure prominently as the Senate deliberates its version of the bill.

The office assessed the bill would reduce federal deficits by $119 million over the next 10 years, and would lower premiums "in part because the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs".

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who worked tooth and nail to secure the bill's passage, lauded the lower premiums, but made no mention of the likely less encompassing coverage.

"This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit," he said.

When the House passed the Republican replacement plan, known as the American Health Care Act, on May 4, Democrats chanted across the aisle "Hey, hey goodbye" -- seeking to emphasize the electoral blowback Republicans could face if the bill becomes law and droves of Americans lose their insurance.

Republicans in the Senate are weary of the bill passed by the House, and are seeking to craft their own bill that can pass the chamber where they hold a slim 52-seat majority.

While eliminating a legal mandate for Americans to have health care, the Republican plan appears to undercut the party's claim that people with pre-existing conditions would still be able to get coverage.

Those who are less healthy "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" the American Health Care Act, the CBO said.

"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," the office said.

Democratic lawmaker Chuck Schumer said on Twitter his Republican colleagues "should drop their dangerous attempts to sabotage health care for millions & work w/ Democrats to improve our health care system".

2017.05.25 / 09:12
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