The Senate health care bill would insure 22 million fewer people after a decade than current law, according to an analysis Monday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. It would save $321 billion in the same period overall by spending $1 trillion less on health care and using the savings to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, which primarily benefit wealthy individuals and medical companies.
The highly anticipated analysis could make it more difficult for some Republican senators who had concerns about people losing insurance to vote for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a vote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold this week. The analysis of the Senate bill is not much different than the House-passed American Health Care Act, which left 23 million more people uninsured than under current law and it saves $202 million than the House bill. Few Republicans have come out enthusiastically in support of the bill and five members last week said they couldn’t vote for it in its current form. Others had been waiting to hear from stakeholders in their respective states and for the CBO report.
The Senate bill uses a similar structure as Obamacare to help people buy insurance based on their income. But the benefits are less generous overall and aimed at purchasing insurance with higher deductibles that cover fewer areas of treatment.
In addition, it contains major reductions in Medicaid spending, including a rollback of the ACA’s expansion of the program, which currently covers more than 11 million people. The government would spend 26% less on Medicaid by 2026, according to the report. Without factoring in subsidies to buy insurance, the bill initially raises premiums, but eventually reduces them by 30 percent on average compared to current law in 2020. This is mainly because the insurance will come with higher out-of-pocket costs and less comprehensive coverage.