According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) of 2017 would cause 22 million individuals to lose health care coverage over the next 10 years. This includes 68.2% who depend on Medicaid, with 15 million who represent the disabled, children, and low-income families.
The CBO report projects a net $321 billion in federal savings in 2026. Nevertheless, a vast portion of the expected “savings” comes from the $772 billion-reduction to Medicaid funding as a result of the termination of the enhanced federal matching funds and the proposed per-capita based caps on Medicaid payments to the states. Moreover, $408 billion dollars in “savings” is expected from the reduction to subsidies for non-group health insurance. By reducing marketplace subsidies and tightening the income threshold from 400% to 350% of the FPL to qualify for a tax credit, many low and moderate income families will be excluded from health insurance access. This would create financial hardships for households that depend on health insurance tax credits to keep from falling into poverty. Additionally, the upsurge in the number of uninsured would be excessively larger among people in their 50s and 60s with lower incomes.
Despite efforts to create savings to reduce the federal deficit, the BCRA creates a $541 billion shortfall in the federal budget by repealing (1) taxes imposed on insurance health providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and medical device makers and (2) taxes on individuals who earn more than $200,000 annually. Furthermore, the federal government also expects a $210 billion loss due to (1) the repeal of the individual mandate, which would no longer tax individuals without health insurance coverage, and (2) the repeal of the employer mandate, which would revoke the requirement for many employers to provide health insurance. Although Republicans claim that their proposal would make healthcare more financially attainable by decreasing premiums, the CBO report finds that the Senate bill is projected to raise out-of-pocket costs (deductibles), make insurance more skimpy, and destabilize markets. The House and Senate proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are simply a huge tax cut for those at the top of the income spectrum, especially the top one percent.
The Senate has announced the delay on the health care vote until after the July 4 recess due to lack of support for the bill in its current form. Thus, it is now more important than ever to continue to protect our care by calling our senators and joining local town hall meetings during the upcoming July 4 recess.