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CBO: Repeal-only bill would lead to 32 million more uninsured by 2026

By Ray Downs
CBO: Repeal-only bill would lead to 32 million more uninsured by 2026
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., (C) speaks to the media on the healthcare vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. McConnell was joined by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, (R) and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. McConnell announced he will pull the Republican healthcare bill and in favor of a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

July 19 (UPI) -- The Republican Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act will result in an extra 32 million more uninsured people and higher premiums, an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation released Wednesday says.

The effects of the repeal would be immediate, according to the analysis. By 2018, the number of uninsured people would increase by 17 million, compared to the current rate under the ACA. That number will nearly double over the next few years, with 32 million more uninsured by 2026.

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Reasons for the increase in uninsured are many, the CBO report says. They include a $842 billion reduction in federal funds to Medicaid to cover those living under or near the federal poverty line; a $679 billion cut in subsidies for non-group health insurance; and the elimination of a $6 billion tax credit to small businesses that provide health insurance to employees.

There also would be a decline in tax revenue from ACA-imposed penalties on those who don't buy into a private health insurance program, as well as businesses that fail to provide adequate health insurance plans.

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"Other budgetary effects, mostly involving revenues, associated with shifts from taxable to non-taxable compensation resulting from net increases in employment-based health insurance coverage -- which would, on net, increase deficits by $210 billion," the CBO said.

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Although health insurance premiums for family coverage increased by 58 percent between 2006 and 2016, with workers' shares increasing 78 percent, the CBO analysis predicts the increase could climb higher under a total repeal measure by 100 percent of the current rate by 2026.

Private health insurance companies have been increasingly refusing to provide coverage in certain parts of the country that are deemed unprofitable under ACA restrictions, leading to 31 percent of counties in the United States having only one option to choose from in the ACA marketplace, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, but the CBO predicts more counties would have fewer options under the repeal bill.

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"Under this legislation, about half of the nation's population would live in areas having no insurer participating in the non-group market in 2020 because of downward pressure on enrollment and upward pressure on premiums," the report said. "That share would continue to increase, extending to about three-quarters of the population by 2026."

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