Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said repealing major measures in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would lead to 18 million people losing their insurance within the first year.
The non-partisan U.S. Congress agency said it analyzed the possible effects of H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015 if it had been passed. The legislation was the Republican Congress' last attempt to repeal the ACA and President Barack Obama vetoed it in January last year.
The budget office did not analyze the GOP's latest version to replace the ACA because it has not yet been revealed.
The budget office's report follows demonstrations this weekend supporting the ACA. The U.S. Congress last week took the first steps to repeal the ACA. On Friday, the House of Representatives voted to pass a "repeal resolution" attached to a budget bill that would begin the process of dismantling Obama's signature healthcare program.
The budget office said if major ACA provisions were removed and legislation like H.R. 3762 passed, millions would be affected through insurance coverage and premiums.
"The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following enactment of the bill," the budget office said in a statement. "Later, after the elimination of the ACA's expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces, that number would increase to 27 million, and then to 32 million in 2026."
The budget office said premiums for individual policies purchased through the insurance marketplaces or directly from insurances would increase up to 25 percent in the first year, which could increase a further 50 percent a year after Medicaid expansion is eliminated. Marketplace subsidies and premiums would double by 2026.
The budget office said the estimates in the report are uncertain because it is difficult to predict the way in which individuals affected by H.R. 3762 would respond.
"If the Congress considers legislation similar to H.R. 3762 in the coming weeks, the estimated effects could differ from those described here," the budget office said. "In particular, the response of individuals, insurers, and states would depend critically on the particular specifications contained in such legislation."