Society

CBO: Reform Would Leave 23 Million Without Health Care

| by Jordan Smith

The Congressional Budget Office released an estimate May 24 which projected that 23 million more people would be left uninsured under the Republicans' pending health care reform legislation than under Obamacare.

The American Health Care Act was passed by the House on May 4, prior to the release of the CBO's estimate on its impact, the Guardian reported.

Republicans originally attempted to pass a health care reform bill in March, but House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to withdraw it when it became clear it would not obtain enough support. A compromise was subsequently reached between moderate and right-wing Republicans.

The bill, which is now being considered by the Senate, removes the requirement for states to cover pre-existing conditions. The CBO noted that this would result in a decline in premiums for those without a health condition.

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"Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums," the CBO added, according to the Guardian.

The analysis compared the Republicans' reform to Obamacare, writing that "people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all."

Democrats criticized the bill when it was adopted in the House. They held a press conference May 24 to attack the measure.

"What the House did was cruel and craven and it was based on a series of policy lies, and the most difficult to swallow is this idea that they provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions. They simply do not," Sen. Brian Schatz stated. "The opportunity to purchase insurance at rate you cannot afford is not coverage."

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Christine Remy, whose daughter required treatment for childhood cancer, attacked supporters of the reform.

"I doubt that any member of Congress who voted for the AHCA would be willing to give up their health insurance and be moved into a so-called high-risk health pool. But they don't have the worry that because their federal health insurance covers preexisting conditions. While they protect themselves millions of children and their families stand to suffer a lifetime of fear, doubt and lost opportunities," she said.

According to The Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is pushing for Senate Republicans to vote on the health care bill prior to Congress' summer recess in August.

Asked about a vote before the break, Sen. John Thune said: "I would certainly hope so."

Ryan stated recently that passing a bill prior to the recess was a "doable timeline" and added: "There's a sense of urgency."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to commit to a vote prior to the summer break.

"I don't think we have forever to address this. But I'm not going to put a strong timeline on it," McConnell said.

Sources: The Guardian, The Hill / Photo credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons

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