On Wednesday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the American Health Care Act, which passed in the House of Representatives in early May. It was a revised version of an earlier AHCA bill that was rejected in the House in March, based on the estimates from the CBO score. So, is the new CBO score better than the old one when it comes to health care coverage and costs for Americans?
Nope. It's actually pretty similar, with some minor changes. So, back in March, the CBO estimated that under the AHCA, 24 million people would lose insurance and that the deficit, because of extreme Medicaid cuts, would be reduced by $150 billion. This time around, the "new and improved" AHCA would cause 23 million people to lose insurance and, again with light Medicaid cuts, cut the deficit by $119 billion. It's good for the budget, but not good for humans.
According to Pro-Choice America (NARAL), the AHCA and the new CBO score are a "disaster," or as they said in an official emailed statement, a dumpster fire. As in, the organization sent a GIF of a dumpster fire to news outlets. The people who would be most affected by the AHCA are also the most vulnerable groups of people, like those with pre-existing conditions, or women and children on Medicaid or who go to Planned Parenthood. The AHCA guts coverage for all 23 million of them.
The CBO report essentially told Republicans that their "new" bill wasn't anything that they promised it would be. In one particularly disconcerting part of the report, the CBO wrote:
People who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all — despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs.
Some Republicans, like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, were excited to see that the CBO confirmed that costs of premiums would go down under the AHCA, that's only because plans would not cover as many medical services for most people. So it's not exactly the best deal for people who need health insurance the most.
Although there is some disagreement among GOP members. While Ryan lauded the CBO score, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price released a statement that the CBO was straight up "wrong."
One thing is very straightforward: the CBO numbers for the new AHCA are very similar to the ones from March. Which means that the Trump administration is going to have to work a whole lot harder to convince Democrats and moderate Republicans that the ACHA will help Americans. This new CBO report doesn't back that position up.