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home : most recent : statewide implications August 23, 2017

3/16/2017 6:27:00 PM
IU expert: CBO report could threaten health plan

Jonathan Streetman, Herald-Times

A newly released congressional analysis on the proposed American Health Care Act is likely going to be very damaging to its future, according to an Indiana University professor.

The report issued Monday by the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the House Republicans' plan to replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act would leave 24 million fewer Americans without insurance by 2026 than if the Affordable Care Act were to remain intact. That would nearly double the current number of uninsured Americans, from 10 percent to 19 percent. The office also projects the number of uninsured people would rise by 14 million during the first year of the proposal.

The 37-page report notes that should the proposal be enacted, the federal deficit would decrease by $337 billion during that same time frame, something House Speaker Paul Ryan has touted as a major selling point for the legislation, by freezing Medicaid and significantly reducing government aid.

Dr. Kosali Simon, a nationally known health economist and Herman B Wells endowed professor at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said past promises by President Donald Trump and legislators that any Affordable Care Act replacement plan would not leave people uninsured will come back to haunt them. Simon has published work widely on the Affordable Care Act and its effect on health care and labor market outcomes.

"(T)hat is damaging to the new bill among the public who have been hoping for estimates of the (number of) uninsured that are very different from this," Simon said in an email. "Second, it seems likely to reduce support even among GOP politicians. Perhaps some were looking for a law that would cost less, but wouldn't lose as many people's insurance coverage — this would hurt them at election time to have backed a bill that led to their constituents losing coverage by this much."

Simon said legislators are likely to heed the Congressional Budget Office's report because, since it was set up in 1974 by Congress, the office employs the most accurate methods to provide impartial analysis.

Related Links:
• Herald-Times full text

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