Speaker of the House Paul Ryan hopes to have a full floor vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) later this month, despite a newly released report sparking opposition to the legislation from both Democrats and Republicans.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its nonpartisan report Monday, which estimates the new bill repealing Obamacare would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade. A majority of the savings would come through cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for nongroup health insurance.
The report also found that 14 million Americans would lose health coverage by next year under the plan.
“This report confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care. CBO also finds that this legislation will provide massive tax relief, dramatically reduce the deficit, and make the most fundamental entitlement reform in more than a generation,” Speaker Ryan (R-WI) said in a statement.
Ryan added that the CBO report does not take into consideration other steps Congress and the Trump administration are taking to further lower health care costs.
Despite the reduced cost, the CBO report found that the number of Americans without health insurance would increase by 24 million by 2026, bringing the total to 52 million. Conversely, if the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — remains in place, 28 million people would not have coverage, the report found.
Many of the AHCA’s backers refuted this claim, yet still some Republicans said they would not support a law that would leave so many citizens uninsured.
Under the new bill, the CBO report estimates single policyholder premiums will be up to 20 percent higher than under current law in 2018 and 2019.
But by 2020, individual premiums would offset due to more enrollees, states covering high-cost members and insurance companies covering fewer of enrollees’ medical costs, the report states. By 2026, the CBO projects average premiums for individuals would be 10 percent lower than under Obamacare.
“Our plan is not about forcing people to buy expensive, one-size-fits-all coverage. It is about giving people more choices and better access to a plan they want and can afford. When people have more choices, costs go down. That’s what this report shows,” Ryan said.
A third House committee will debate the AHCA later this week. Speaker Ryan has said he plans to hold a vote March 20 to pass the bill onto the Senate, where the legislation could face a significant rewrite in order to appeal to more politicians.