On March 9, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization headquartered in Washington, DC., published an article that estimates the economic impact of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA was introduced by House Republicans on March 6, and has already cleared two key committees on its way to a full House floor vote. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score estimating the bill’s cost is expected to come out during the week of March 13, but in advance of an official CBO score, Brookings compiled data from past CBO work to develop an estimate.
Brookings estimates significant loss of health care coverage due to the repeal of the individual mandate, resulting in upwards of 15 million people losing coverage. Ending the Medicaid expansion started under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will result in additional coverage losses, estimate to be “several million”. Approximately 11 million people have gained coverage due to the expansion since the ACA went into effect in 2010.
The tax credits provided for by the AHCA would fall short of the subsidies people receive under the ACA, Brookings reports. The article notes that the new tax credit would be substantially less generous for lower-income people, particularly those who live in higher cost areas and who are older. The article also discusses the challenges posed by the continuous coverage provision, which is likely to impact people with preexisting conditions more negatively than others, and the Patient and State Stability Fund, which would not provide long-term federal assistance to states.