GOP-proposed ACA Reform Would Raise Deficit, Cause 1 Million to Lose Their Insurance

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At least, for the moment, they’ve stopped trying to repeal it.

After over 40 failed attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act, serious GOP legislators decided that rather than try to slay a political dragon, they would try a little governance and perhaps try to fix their specific problems with the law. One such congressman was Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., who submitted H.R. 2575, or the Save American Workers Act. For the purposes of healthcare, the law would redefine full-time work as 40 hours per week instead of 30, a way around the much-maligned employer mandate.

Yet an analysis released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office painted the picture that the bill would do more harm than good. Adding those ten weekly hours would see “about 1 million people” lose their health insurance. Consequently, somewhere between half a million to a million people would end up insured via a (likely subsidized) health exchange plan or through Medicaid. The remainder — less than half a million people — would wind up uninsured.

Employers who do not provide full-time employees with health insurance must pay a fine to the government, but this bill cut that amount considerably by making fewer companies subject to that penalty. All told, the bill would end up costing the taxpayers $73.7 billion over the next ten years.

While Young should be commended for trying to pass a bill that reforms the law rather than seeking outright to repeal it, the Los Angeles Times said that Young and his 208 cosponsors handled it “so ineptly,” and that it would ultimately make “the problem they’re addressing much worse.”

Part of the justification behind dropping the full-time threshold to 30 hours per week is that it would be much more difficult for employers to scale back hours for full-time employees than it would be if the line was drawn at 40 hours per week.