A change added to the big health bill that the House passed May 4 could shut about one-sixth of U.S. sick people out of the individual major medical market, and push some of those sick people into employer-sponsored health plans, according to budget analysts at the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The budget analysts have included those predictions in a review of the current version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act. The underlying bill would replace the current Affordable Care Act health insurance premium tax credit system, eliminate coverage mandates for employers and individuals, and repeal taxes created by the health law.
The Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation are arms of Congress that help members of Congress analyze the potential effects of legislation.
The budget analysts released one analysis of an early version of H.R. 1628 in March; a second analysis, of a second version of the bill, later in March; and a third analysis, of the version that actually passed in the House, today.
The budget analysts predict that:
The new version could narrow the gap between federal revenue and federal spending by about $119 billion over the 10-year period from 2017 through 2026. That’s down from a net saving estimate of about $337 billion over 10 years for the original version of the bill.
The new version could hold the total number of uninsured people at 41 million in 2018, compared with 41 million under the original version of H.R. 1628, and just 26 million today, under the current rules.
In 2026, the number of uninsured people could be about 28 million if the current rules stay in place; 52 million under the original version of H.R. 1628; and 51 million if the current version of H.R. 1628 takes effect.
House leaders had to struggle to get H.R. 1628 through the chamber. It passed by a vote of just 217-213.
Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J. (Photo: MacArthur)
Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., proposed an amendment to win support for the bill from some House Republicans who are especially hostile toward the Affordable Care Act.