Healthcare groups use CBO score to blast AHCA

Healthcare industry stakeholders are reacting with alarm to the Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which forecasts that the Republican measure passed overwhelmingly in the House – and now being reviewed in the Senate – would cause 23 million Americans to lose their insurance by 2026.

While the CBO analysis estimates the AHCA would cut federal deficits by $119 billion in the next decade, the “largest savings would come from reductions in outlays for Medicaid and from the replacement of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) subsidies for nongroup health insurance with new tax credits for nongroup health insurance.”

"Today’s estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show that last-minute changes to the AHCA made by the House offered no real improvements," Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement released Wednesday. "Millions of Americans will become uninsured —with low-income families on Medicaid being hit the hardest. We urge the Senate to ensure that any changes made to current law do not cause Americans to lose access to affordable, meaningful health insurance coverage.”

The latest CBO score of a GOP healthcare proposal is almost identical to its score in March of an earlier Republican healthcare plan that ultimately wasn’t voted on because House leaders realized they lacked the necessary votes for approval. That score estimated 24 million Americans would lose insurance by 2026.

“We cannot support legislation that the CBO clearly indicates would jeopardize that coverage for millions of Americans,” said American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack in reaction to Wednesday’s AHCA score by CBO. “We continue to urge the Senate to work together in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind.”

AARP also opposes the bill, arguing that it “worsens the financial outlook for Medicare” by reducing that program’s revenue and cuts spending on Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years.

“The CBO analysis found that premiums would go up to unaffordable levels by inflicting an age tax and removing current protections for people with common conditions including diabetes and weight gain,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “Putting a greater financial burden on older Americans is not the way to solve the problems in our health care system.”

March of Dimes President Stacey D. Stewart said the proposed GOP healthcare plan would hurt families.

“CBO has confirmed what the March of Dimes and other advocates have been saying for weeks,” Stewart said. “Women and their families will pay higher costs and receive less coverage, especially for maternity care, under the American Health Care Act.”

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