While the Numbers Differ, Both the CBO and CMS Deliver Negative AHCA Data
The American Health Care Act won’t strip as many people of healthcare but also won’t save as much money, a new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) claims.
The AHCA was given a rather poor score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which stated that millions would lose healthcare coverage as a result of the proposed healthcare act, but that it would also save the U.S. billions. The CMS provides a different but potentially equally grim view, with fewer people losing healthcare, but with the act also saving the U.S. far less as a result.
The CBO predicted that 23 million Americans would be uninsured by 2026 in addition to the millions already projected to be without healthcare, should the AHCA pass. The CMS estimate, however, believes that number will only be 13 million. Meanwhile, the CBO predicts that $1.11 trillion will be saved in federal spending over 10 years, while the CMS puts that number closer to $328.0 billion.
The AHCA did not exactly receive a ringing endorsement from either projection, as both paint a world with millions of people off insurance and with relatively low savings when compared to America’s yearly budget of $3.8 trillion.
The ultimate result of the AHCA would be the repeal of the Affordable Care Act—often referred to as Obamacare—therefore leaving millions of Americans without an avenue towards affordable insurance. At least, that is how the bill would affect the American people as currently constructed, according to studies, data, and experts.
The controversy over the AHCA has led to confrontational town hall meetings across the country, where senators have been verbally chastised for their support of the AHCA, with some residents claiming that, without the ACA, they or family members would be dead or bankrupt as a result of a disease that no insurance company would cover.
Some of the more popular aspects of the ACA are the elimination of pre-existing conditions—meaning that insurance companies cannot deny coverage or artificially spike costs due to an individual signing up with a chronic or long-term illness—and the expansion of Medicaid to cover America’s poorest, although this feature has been hotly debated and at times outright refused by states.
The AHCA now sits before Congress, with both houses being controlled by the Republicans, as well as the White House. It is unclear if the bill will be passed, however, because the Senate is currently examining the bill and we may see a potential break in partisan politics, or perhaps see the bill sent back to the House with amendments.
“The CBO vs. the CMS on the AHCA,” National Review, June 15, 2017.