The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today announced its analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). CBO projects that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 under the ACHA as compared to current law, including 14 million more people by next year. A large portion of this increase would be driven by the proposed changes to the Medicaid program, the repeal of the individual mandate and changes to the subsidies as provided under the Affordable Care Act. This analysis supports similar projections made by other organizations, all of which predict massive coverage losses if this bill were to pass.
These projections alarm us, as they should also alarm lawmakers. Further, we note that CBO projects sharp premium increases for older Americans, partially due to the changes allowing insurers to charge them five times more than a younger enrollee. We are encouraged that CBO projected premiums to decrease over ten years for younger Americans; however, for those who can no longer afford any insurance because of the lack of Medicaid coverage or insufficient subsidies, any premium decrease for others is poor comfort.
We urge Congress to reconsider changes to the Medicaid program, which acts not only as the only source of health coverage for millions of Americans, but also as a deterrent against more advanced stages of disease and medical debt. We also encourage Congress to create a more equitable subsidy system, to ensure that no patient who currently has coverage loses it unwillingly.
Each day, American researchers announce more innovative delivery systems, life-saving medications and ground-breaking studies as we move towards more personalized and person-centered care. However, patients must have insurance coverage in order to access these advancements. We hope to work with Congress to ensure that the patient experience is at the forefront of any further changes they consider to our health care system.