Congressional Budget Office determines Republican legislation would reduce deficit by $321B
A Senate Republican proposal to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's universal health care law would result in about 22 million more Americans lacking health coverage by 2026, a nonpartisan agency said Monday.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s evaluation said the Senate bill would result in "slightly fewer" people lacking coverage than a similar bill passed in the House that the agency said would leave 23 million more lacking coverage than under "Obamacare".
By next year, 15 million more Americans would lack coverage than under Obama's Affordable Care Act primarily because of the elimination of tax penalties on those who lack coverage, the budget office said.
Those hardest hit would be lower income Americans and the elderly, the office said.
The Senate legislation "would increase the number of uninsured people substantially. The increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income", according to the CBO.
Its evaluation could complicate plans for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who wants to hold a vote on the legislation this week.
Its unveiling has been greeted less than enthusiastically in the closely-held Republican Senate where at least three Republicans have voiced opposition to the plan, and another caucus member is skeptical of the plan.
But the CBO estimated the plan would reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion, or $202 billion more than the House version.
The savings would result mainly from deep cuts to Medicaid, a government program for lower-income Americans seeking health care.
Federal spending on the program would decrease by 26 percent in 2026 compared to current law.
That is a problem for Republican Sen. Dean Heller who is facing a tight race to keep his seat in 2018. He said shortly after the bill was made public he has "serious concerns" about the legislation.
Nevada, his home state, saw 200,000 people receive health care for the first time under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.