A gaggle of Trump Administration officials paraded through the Sunday talk shows to proclaim that the plan passed by Republicans in the House would not result in significant numbers of Americans losing their health care. This is patently absurd and has been contradicted by independent evaluators, notably the Congressional Budget Office. Because the House passed the final version of the bill before it could be evaluated, the numbers in these charts are from the penultimate version and are unlikely to change much when the next “score” is released by the C.B.O.
Note: for the related Morning Joe clip, please click here.
Let’s start with the money. The Republican plan would dramatically cut health care assistance for those of modest means, while cutting taxes for the wealthy and for business. Over the next 10 years, $839 billion would be cut from Medicaid and another $663 billion would be saved by ending the Obamacare subsidies. This would be only partially offset by the new tax credits, leading to net reductions of $983 billion. It defies any logic to think that this will not have a real and substantive impact on how many Americans get insurance.
At the same time, a total of $622 billion would be dispensed to a combination of wealthy individuals earning over $250,000 a year (by eliminating surcharges on capital gains and wages) and businesses (by removing a variety of taxes on items ranging from medical devices to tanning salons).
Those lost dollars – plus other regulatory changes – were forecast to lead to 24 million fewer Americans being insured in 2026 than if the Affordable Care Act were left in place. That’s even more than a 15 million estimate by the Brookings Institution, which is often dismissed as a left-leaning institution. Of that total, more than half of the losses will come among Medicaid recipients, Americans who are well down the income ladder. Surprisingly, the CBO also projects that 7 million people who would otherwise be covered by their employers would become uncovered, as would 3 million who buy insurance in the exchanges using federal subsidies.
This would take the percentage of Americans without insurance all the way back to where it was before Obamacare was passed and the highest since the passage of Medicare in the mid-1960s.