Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their estimates of the impact the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would have on the healthcare industry, along with costs for both patients and the federal government.
The AHCA would make significant changes to healthcare, while keeping some provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Funding for Medicaid would be significantly altered, and the individual mandate would be repealed, both of which are largely supported by GOP lawmakers.
Other popular provisions among Republicans, such as the pre-existing conditions mandate and keeping children on their parent’s insurance until age 26, would remain unchanged.
How would new legislation impact the healthcare system? The CBO estimates that:
- The federal deficit would be reduced by $337 billion over the next 10 years. The report estimates that the most significant savings would come from changes made to Medicaid and by eliminating subsidies provided to individuals purchasing insurance through the marketplaces.
- Medicaid spending by 2026 would be reduced by $880 billion, likely due to a cap on federal contributions to the program, according to Kaiser Health News.
- Next year, 14 million individuals are predicted to lose health coverage. Approximately 6 million would not purchase coverage through individual marketplaces, while 5 million would not be covered by Medicaid, The New York Times reported.
- In 2026, there would be 24 million more Americans without health insurance likely due to changes to Medicaid. This would bring the total number of uninsured individuals up to 52 million, which is significantly higher than the 28 million under the Affordable Care Act.
- Ninety-five percent of individuals enrolled in expanded Medicaid programs would lose enhanced federal funding by 2024, according to Kaiser.
- Due to changes in employer responsibility, there would be 2 million fewer employees receiving coverage next year. This number would skyrocket to 7 million by 2026, according to the report.
- Average premiums would also increase under the AHCA. The law would increase premiums by 15% to 20% in 2018 and 2019, compared with the ACA. The premium increase is likely due to the elimination of the individual mandate, which would lead to higher costs for those enrolled, the Times reported.
- In 2020, premiums would begin to fall, and by 2026, the average premiums would be 10% lower than under the ACA. However, they would vary significantly by age, since insurers would be allowed to charge up to 5 times more for older adults than younger adults.
- Federal subsidies would be reduced by half by 2026 under the AHCA, according to the report.
- With federal funding for Planned Parenthood prohibited for 1 year, the number of births to Medicaid-insured mothers would skyrocket several thousand. Approximately 15% of clinic patients would lose access to care, including preventive care and low- to no-cost birth control.