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Trumpcare version 2: Just as bad or worse

Commentary by Masao Suzuki |
May 26, 2017
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San José, CA - On Wednesday, May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report on the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA). This was the bill that would end the Affordable Care Act or ACA (also known as Obamacare) that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives had narrowly passed earlier in May, without knowing what its impact and cost would be.

The CBO report estimated that 3 million more Americans would lose their health insurance over the next ten years because of the changes in the revised versions that would allow for health insurance companies to charge higher premiums for people with so-called pre-existing conditions and to offer so-called insurance that doesn't cover major medical risks, which is not really health insurance. Further, the CBO estimated that there were 50 million Americans who lived in areas where the individual health insurance market might collapse because of these changes.

Hardest hit by insurance losses would be low-income adults. The CBO estimated that the percentage of adults in households making less than 200% of the official poverty line (or about $40,000 for a family of three) who would wind up without health insurance would double under Trumpcare, as compared to Obamacare. For older adults (50 to 64 years old) in low-income households the percentage would triple - from about 10% to almost 30% going without health care. And no wonder: according to the CBO report, the premiums paid by an individual who is 64 years old could jump from less than $150 a month under Obamacare to more than $1200 a month (or even more) under Trumpcare version 2.

The total number of people losing their health insurance in ten years was estimated by the CBO to be 23 million, down slightly from the first version where the CBO projected a 24 million loss. Some commentators have labeled Trumpcare version 2 as just as bad as the original. But the CBO estimate is based on the projection that businesses will cover 4 million more people than in the original bill. But given that Trumpcare would eliminate the employer mandate for large businesses to provide health insurance for their employees, and that businesses were steadily cutting workers from health insurance before Obamacare, it is quite likely that the revised version of the AHCA could leave even more Americans without health insurance.