What Does it Mean?

CBO_logoThe numbers are out. The Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate health care bill yesterday and a few of the key findings are making headlines across the country. Chief among those…..the number of people projected to lose health coverage in the next 10 years.

From the Washington Post:

Senate Republicans’ bill to erase major parts of the Affordable Care Act would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured by the end of the coming decade, while reducing federal spending by $321 billion during that time, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The forecast issued Monday by Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers appeared to rapidly erode Republicans’ confidence in the bill, with at least four GOP lawmakers saying by the evening that they would vote against even starting debate on it.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), “For individuals who purchase health coverage on the exchanges, the CBO says prices will vary — some will see lower premiums, especially in states that opt out of some consumer protections, which will allow insurers to sell plans that offer fewer benefits. However, for people who would like to purchase plans that cover the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, including mental health coverage, addiction treatment, maternity care and prescription drug coverage, costs could go way up.”

Fox News ran a headline that read, “White House criticizes CBO report, cites ‘history of inaccuracy.’ The following is an excerpt from that story.

The White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office on Monday, hitting the nonpartisan federal agency for its analysis of the Senate’s proposed health care legislation.

Under the new plan, the CBO said, the number of Americans uninsured would grow to 22 million in 2026. The office, which issued its “score” with the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimated that the legislation would cut the deficit by $321 billion by 2026.

“The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage,” the White House said in a statement. “This history of inaccuracy, as demonstrated by its flawed report on coverage, premiums, and predicted deficit arising out of ObamaCare, reminds us that its analysis must not be trusted blindly.

However, TheHill.com pointed out “The CBO appeared to anticipate the line of attack from the White House; it included a defense of its estimates in the report on the Senate bill.”

“Despite the uncertainty, the direction of certain effects of this legislation is clear,” the budget office wrote. “For example, the amount of federal revenues collected and the amount of spending on Medicaid would almost surely both be lower than under current law. And the number of uninsured people under this legislation would almost surely be greater than under current law.”
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) issued an action alert saying that of the 22 million who could lose coverage under the proposed plan – more than 400,000 would be Arizonans. Part of the alert also read, “At its core, the BCRA is the same fundamentally flawed health policy found in the House AHCA.  It includes the cuts to Medicaid which will gravely damage the healthcare safety net Arizona children, seniors, and disabled depend on. That’s why it’s critical we share our concerns with Arizona’s US Senators.”

Share your thoughts on the new CBO report and how, you believe, it may affect the health and health coverage of Arizonans. Generating important conversations around key health issues we face is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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