A new report conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that if the Republican majority in Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, without immediately replacing it, up to 18 million Americans could lose their health insurance as soon as 2018.
The report estimates that dismantling the insurance subsidies and repealing the tax mandate to purchase insurance would not only result in 18 million people losing their health coverage next year, but that 32 million would have lost their health insurance by 2026 if a replacement plan is not put in place, USA TODAY reports.
The CBO report had been commissioned by both the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and the Senate Minority Leader, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. The federal agency is headed by conservative economist Keith Hall, who had been appointed by former President George W. Bush to Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in January 2008.
The study found that not only would a repeal of the ACA without replacing its insurance subsidies and coverage mandate result in 18 million Americans becoming uninsured within the next enrollment year, but that insurance premiums for healthcare plans in the federal and state exchanges would increase by as much as 25 percent in 2018.
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The report concluded that premiums would double by 2026.
The CBO's findings were released days after Republicans in Congress began initiating the repeal of the ACA. On Jan. 12, the Senate passed a budget plan that would call for legislation to dismantle the healthcare plan by a vote of 227 to 198, with no Democratic support, Reuters reports.
On Jan. 13, the House passed the measure by a vote of 227 to 198, again with zero Democratic support. The budget plan has slated legislation to dismantle major portions of the ACA by Jan. 27.
Josh Dorner, a spokesman for the Alliance of Healthcare Security, blasted GOP lawmakers following the findings of the CBO report.
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"It's time for Republicans to show us a plan before they rip apart the healthcare system and rip away the care that millions depend on," Dorner said.
Republican lawmakers have yet to agree upon a comprehensive healthcare policy to replace the ACA. Dismantling vast portions of Obamacare is easier for Republicans, who need only to use their 52 majority in the Senate in order to pass repeal legislation, but replacement bills would require a supermajority of 60 votes, meaning they would need Democratic support, according to Forbes.
On Jan. 15, President-elect Donald Trump pledged that Republicans would install a replacement healthcare policy while simultaneously repealing the ACA, despite their difficulties coalescing around a plan.
"We're going to have insurance for everybody," Trump told The Washington Post.