On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its revised score for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which narrowly passed out of the House on May 4. (See WICs article, “House Narrowly Passes AHCA, All Eyes Shift to Senate,” May 5, 2017.) The new report shows the AHCA would achieve federal savings of $119 billion over ten years, down from a prior report of $150 billion. The federal savings are largely achieved through deep cuts to the Medicaid program, which would total $834 billion over ten years, down slightly from a prior report of $839 billion. The CBO also estimates that the current version of the AHCA would increase the number of uninsured people by 23 million by 2026, down from 24 million in the previous report. Of the newly uninsured, many would be people aged 50 to 64 with income under 200% of the federal poverty level.
Some additional takeaways in the new CBO score include substantially increasing out-of-pocket costs for people in states that waive Affordable Care Act (ACA) essential health benefits requirements, lower age-based tax subsidies than had been present in prior AHCA versions, increased individual-market instability in states seeking ACA waivers, and an increase of $43 billion over ten years for disproportionate-share hospital payments to account for the increase in uninsured patients.
The Senate is continuing to work on its own version of the AHCA, which is predicted to make significant changes to the House-passed version, but is still likely to look to Medicaid cuts to fund the cost of other provisions in the bill, including the repeal of taxes the ACA had imposed on wealthy individuals and the health industry. Senate action is expected to take place in June, making now a critical time to engage with lawmakers. ANCOR is sponsoring a Hill day on June 6 and has tools and resources available to conduct in-district visits and calls as well. Please visit www.disabilitysos.org to learn more.