New Analysis of Health Care Law Affirms Increases in Hunger, Poverty

Hundreds protest in front of Trump Tower in Chicago to denounce the American Health Care Act in March. | Ashlee Rezin  Sun-Times

Hundreds protest in front of Trump Tower in Chicago to denounce the American Health Care Act in March. | Ashlee Rezin Sun-Times

The GOP health care bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), has come under fire for potentially ending millions of Americans' access to health insurance.

Those concerns were echoed by group after group, including AARP, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the March of Dimes. In a state making those "moderate" changes to its market under the proposed law, that 64-year-old would pay $13,600, and in a state with no waivers, the cost would be $16,100.

But the report said the lower prices would arise largely because many consumers would be buying skimpier coverage and others wouldn't be able to afford it and would leave the market, particularly the very ill, lower earners and people in their 50s and early 60s.

The bill also would roll back the ACA's expansion of Medicaid.

The Center for American Progress estimates that over the next decade, 57,000 people on Medicaid in ME would lose coverage, as well as 47,000 people in the individual market.

"The report makes clear Trumpcare would be a cancer on the American health care system", Schumer said.

But Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the bill "dangerous, deadly and deeply flawed".

On May 25, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, became emotional when reporters presented him with the CBO's findings.

In an unusual move, the House voted three weeks ago on the proposal without waiting for the CBO to issue its analysis, and McConnell emphasized that the Senate would wait to have that data in hand before moving forward on drafting its own version of healthcare reform. And the CBO even warns that its projections are uncertain. This includes what are called essential health benefits, a list of medical services, such as mental health care or prescription drugs, that plans are required to cover under the current law.

Under Obamacare, government exchanges in many states are providing people with few options - some are now left with only one insurance provider.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., cited the flexibility the House bill would give states to determine coverage requirements and said, "That's why I'm actually comforted by the CBO report which shows, yeah, we'll lower premiums".

Insurers would not be allowed to charge higher premiums to sick people unless a state had an alternative mechanism, like a high-risk pool or a reinsurance program, to help provide coverage for people with serious illnesses. They've said it will differ markedly from the House measure, including easing some Medicaid reductions and focusing tax credits for buying coverage more at poorer people.

Republicans argue that by allowing insurers to sell less comprehensive insurance, premiums will fall and more people will buy basic coverage. That could involve providing money to insurance companies so they can contain customers' costs, and perhaps retaining Obama's individual mandate, which imposes tax penalties on people who go uninsured. "This means many small firms would close up shop while others would never get off the ground", said John Arensmeyer, founder of Small Business Majority, which represents 55,000 small businesses.

The CBO said the AHCA proposal would reduce the United States budget deficit by $119 billion, significantly less than the $150 billion reduction calculated earlier, Efe news reported. So that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations can get giant tax cuts.

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