Report on Impact of Republican Health Care Bill to Be Released

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will release its analysis of a Republican health care bill on Wednesday, giving the public an estimate of the impact the measure would have on health care coverage, premiums and the nation’s budget.

The bill, narrowly approved in the House by a 217 to 213 vote on May 4, is the latest attempt to dismantle President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Replacing Obamacare was a priority of Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, and of Republican lawmakers since its enactment in 2010.

The CBO issued two reports in March on earlier versions of the Republican legislation, the American Health Care Act. Both concluded the bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million during a 10-year period.

The reports also projected the bill would increase health insurance premiums by an average of 15 to 20 percent over a two-year period, but push them 10 percent lower than they would otherwise be by 2026.

The reports prompted some conservative and moderate Republican lawmakers to abandon their support for the measure and craft new language for a revised bill that narrowly won House approval.

The new provisions would allow states to permit insurance companies to increase premiums on some people with pre-existing health conditions and to waive the federal “essential health benefits” requirement. States would also get permission to allow insurers to charge higher premiums for older people.

Democratic lawmakers have attacked the changes, maintaining they are designed to victimize people with serious health problems that require expensive medical care.

The latest bill would cut taxes by about $1 trillion over a decade, mostly on higher income people and health insurers, the CBO said. It would replace Obama’s tax subsidies for health insurance consumers with tax credits based largely on age instead of income.

Most people who would lose coverage would be beneficiaries of Medicaid, the federal health care program for poor and disabled people. The last CBO report estimated the House bill would cut Medicaid by nearly $840 billion over 10 years.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told members of the House Budget Committee on Wednesday that Republicans do have compassion toward poor people, but their budget decisions are based on pragmatism.

“We look at it from different perspective, which is the balance: Those who receive the benefits and the folks who pay for the benefits,” Mulvaney said.

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