The proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal legislation, the American Health Care Act, would cause 24 million people to lose coverage by 2026 and cut Medicaid by $880 billion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisan, independent group of budget economists and analysts used to score the financial and other consequences of proposed legislation. Their analysis of the ACA repeal bill was released on March 13.
The analysis predicts that the share of Americans who are uninsured will nearly double from 10 percent to 19 percent. The office projects the number of uninsured people would jump 14 million after the first year. The CBO analysis estimates that low income older adults would be the hardest hit. “Although the agencies expect that the legislation would increase the number of uninsured broadly, the increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income; in particular, people between 50 and 64 years old with income of less than 200 percent of the FPL would make up a larger share of the uninsured.”
CBO also estimates that the ACA repeal legislation would increase Medicare spending by $43 billion over 10 years. A recent study found that the proposed bill’s repeal of the Medicare tax increase, the 0.9% increase on Americans with annual incomes of more than $200,000 and couples more than $250,000, hastens the insolvency of Medicare by up to 4 years, and diminish Medicare’s ability to pay for services in the future.
The legislation would radically restructure Medicaid, $880 billion or 17.6 percent over the next ten years, relative to current law, due to the reduction in federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and conversion of Medicaid to a per capita cap. By 2026, the annual cut in federal spending would rise to $155 billion, a reduction of 24.8 percent, relative to current law. As a result, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries would fall by 14 million in 2026.
CBO’s estimate of a 24 million increase in the number of uninsured under the House bill is only 8 million lower than CBO’s January 2016 estimate of 32 million for the ACA repeal bill vetoed by President Obama. The proposed legislation endangers the health of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families, while giving millionaires and corporations massive tax cuts.