On Friday, President Donald Trump said he was "100 percent behind" Republicans' replacement of Obamacare, and assured the public that the Republican Party was ready to move full steam ahead with the American Health Care Act. But analyses by the Congressional Budget Office paint a dire picture for Americans who will need to switch plans if the bill is passed. Those wondering what the damage would look like might be wondering: just how much will the AHCA cost compared to Obamacare?
That really depends on your age — and some Americans will have it much, much worse than others if the health care act is passed. According to Vox, by 2026, overall premiums in the individual market would drop by approximately 10 percent from what they are now, after a scary, initial 20 percent increase in 2018 and 2019. That's great news, at first glance — but considering that premiums would depend largely on individuals' age and income, that "great news" is limited to only a portion of the population.
In order to accurately compare costs between the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office took a look at what a person earning $26,500 would pay for premiums under each system, depending on their age, by 2026.
A 21-Year-Old Adult
If your child might be hitting this age by 2026 or later, good for them! If they're on Trumpcare, this is as good as it's going to get for them. Under Obamacare, a 21-year-old earning $26,500 would pay around $1,700 in premiums for insurance. Under Trump's new plan, he or she would only be paying $1,450. Score!
A 40-Year-Old Adult
Later on, however, things start to go downhill. According to the CBO, a 40-year-old earning $26,500 would still be paying around $1,700 under Obamacare, while they would be paying $2,400 under Trumpcare.
A 64-Year-Old Adult
This is where Trumpcare becomes truly expensive. A 64-year-old would still be paying their usual $1,700 under Obamacare, while their premiums would increase to a staggering $14,600 under Trumpcare. That's over half of their income, so expect to be helping your aging parents out as health care bills chew through their paychecks.
Things get worse for the 64-year-old crowd under Trumpcare, too: According to Vox, older people earning over $75,000 (the cut-off point for individuals who would receive fewer tax subsidies under Trumpcare) would also face higher premiums than they did under Obamacare, since Obamacare protected older people from receiving higher premiums by strictly limiting what insurers could charge them. Trumpcare would effectively allow insurers to charge older Americans 66 percent more than Obamacare did.
Those earning more than $68,200 would benefit from the AHCA, however, no matter their age group — because regardless of whether an individual earned only $26,500 or more than $68,200, anyone earning less than $75,000 would be paying the same amount for their Trumpcare premium. Under Obamacare, on the other hand, people received different tax breaks depending on their income.
According to CNN, the CBO estimated that the GOP's plan would leave 52 million people in the United States uninsured by 2026 — 24 million more than there are today. Republicans have disagreed with the CBO's claims, with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer telling reporters on Tuesday, without reasoning, "If you're looking to the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place."
But Doug Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told CNN Spicer's words were "absurd." As he told CNN:
This legislation will cut subsidies substantially; millions of people will lose health insurance. ... Certainly people will be worse off.
Either way, it seems that having lower income or a higher age are definite drawbacks when it comes to Trumpcare coverage. If you're worried about increased premiums under the AHCA, call your representative today and let them know how you feel about health care prices.