The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday released its score of the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, projecting that 14 million people would lose coverage by 2018 if the Republican bill is implemented.
"Anyone who believed GOP promises that people would still have health insurance under the Republican repeal plan now know that they were lied to; they are going to be left out in the cold." —LeeAnn Hall, People's ActionAnd that number would rise to 24 million by 2026.
Additionally, the plan would lead to higher deductibles and other cost-sharing payments.
In short, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter, "The Republican healthcare plan: less healthcare for you, bigger salaries for healthcare CEOs. Republican priorities!"
The Republican health care plan: less health care for you, bigger salaries for health care CEOs. Republican priorities!— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 13, 2017
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the CBO numbers only prove the Republican plan for the nation's healthcare system would be a "nightmare" for the American people. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added:
Throwing 24 million people off their health care to give billionaires a tax break is heartless & irresponsible. We cannot pass #Trumpcare.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 13, 2017
And the broader popular movement actively resisting the repeal and replace effort latched onto details of the CBO findings to highlight the inherent cruelty of the GOP's approach.
LeeAnn Hall, co-director of People’s Action who also serves on the executive committee of advocacy group Health Care for America Now (HCAN), called on the House leadership to immediately halt further action on what she termed the "irresponsible" AHCA.
The CBO numbers, said Hall in statement, "clearly show the serious damage the repeal legislation will do to millions of lives by next year – and millions more in the next few years. Anyone who believed GOP promises that people would still have health insurance under the Republican repeal plan now know that they were lied to; they are going to be left out in the cold."
And on Twitter:
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24 million.— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) March 13, 2017
That's like throwing everyone in Australia off their health insurance. #CBO
The plan would take Medicaid coverage away from 14 million people while providing $592 billion in tax breaks for the rich. #ProtectOurCare— Nat'l Imm Law Center (@NILC_org) March 13, 2017
Opponents of the Republican plan, known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), were eagerly awaiting the analysis, which was widely expected to be scathing. The CBO's analysis aligns with predictions put out by think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, which released a report last Thursday predicting the CBO to calculate a coverage loss for "at least 15 million people" by the end of the 10-year scoring window.
Indeed, the expectations for a critical CBO report were so wide that the White House seemingly launched a preemptive effort to undermine the agency's credibility, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying last week that "If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place."
But opponents weren't hoping for a harsh CBO analysis just to score political points. If the Republican plan fails, wrote Monique Morrissey at the Working Economics Blog—part of the nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI—on Monday, "everyone wins."
"OK, maybe it's a slight exaggeration, but almost everyone—99 percent of Americans and all members of Congress—will win if the GOP health plan fails," she writes. "Among the worst hit by 'repeal and replace' will be older workers, rust-belt swing states that adopted Medicaid expansion, rural areas, and high-cost states—in short, many struggling Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but may not have bargained that doing so would mean losing affordable healthcare."
As Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote at the Washington Post on Monday, "[I]n the interest of tax cuts for people who are already rich, these guys are trying to sell America a vastly inferior healthcare reform that will leave millions of people without coverage and thus sicker. They must be called out."