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CBO projects premiums could double after ACA repeal

Written by Diane Archer

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that premiums could double by 2026 for people buying coverage in the individual market after key parts of the Affordable Care Act are repealed. Moreover, 18 million people could lose their health insurance within a year. The New York Times reports that these CBO findings could lead the Republican leadership to delay dismantling of the ACA until they have a replacement plan.

Without a replacement plan for the ACA, the CBO estimates that 32 million will lose health insurance in the next nine years. These 32 million are in addition to the 26 million who are uninsured today. By 2026, we would more than double the number of uninsured in the U.S. from 26 million today to 59 million.

Republicans plan to eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion, which means 19 million people with Medicaid would lose insurance. Republicans also plan to end subsidies that have helped people with moderate incomes afford their insurance, leaving another 23 million without coverage. The CBO believes that employer-based coverage will increase some.

Republicans also plan to do away with the insurance mandate and penalty imposed on people who do not have health insurance. As a result, many insurers will leave the state health insurance exchanges. Insurers depend upon healthy people to join their health plans to keep premiums down.

Without the insurance mandate, many of the young and healthy will not sign up. Without these healthy people in the exchanges, the CBO projects that premiums will rise by as much as 25 percent in the non-group market during the first full year after a replacement plan goes into effect. And premiums will be about 50 percent higher once the premium subsidies are no more.

Here’s more from Just Care:

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4 Comments

  • I love these projections about 10 years. How does anybody know what will happen after 10 years. People will change strategies if medical insurance becomes any more unaffordable than it is now. Maybe more of them will adopt healthy lifestyles.
    The tragedy is that for those who do have expensive medical conditions, the services will be limited even more.
    Funny how the insurers and the legislators will not discuss how to keep the costs down.

    • …sadly adopting a healthier lifestyle is often out of each of the working poor. More nutritious natural and organic foods are often more expensive than cheap factory produced ones. Many low cost foods have more unhealthy ingredients contain more fat, as well as with regard to meats and poultry, are often laced with growth hormones and antibiotics. Most “generic” produce and produce is often grown/treated with chemical pesticides and herbicides.

      Cheap processed foods like box dinners, dry cereals, budget entrées, ramen, peanut butter, etc often contain MSG, excessive amounts of sodium, various artificial ingredients, and surprisingly, sugar in one form or another . Even so called “healthy” fruit juices, drinks, and bottled teas are often sweetened (many with HFCS which has been proven to be more addictive than cane sugar and linked to the rise in obesity).

      For a family of four barely scraping by (sometimes needing SNAP benefits to make it) it is almost impossible to eat healthy when 1 pound of locally organically raised chicken breast is two to three times more expensive than the hormone/antibiotic laden factory raised variety that is frozen and shipped across the country. Same for ground beef which is usually the main meat staple for low income households.

      Fresh seafood, even fish like cod or snapper, is almost a luxury, leaving the only options of what I call pre breaded minced and shaped frozen “mystery fish” or potted tuna which contains mercury.

  • The only thing Republicans have made clear is that they want plans to be sold across state lines and HSA’s expanded. Since health insurance like all forms of insurance is regulated by the states this presents a problem. The only health insurance program that is national is Medicare. Critics argue that Medicare is going broke. But the reason for Medicare’s financial difficulties is its adversely selected risk pool, i.e. people age 65 until death and certain under 65 people with chronic health problems. The obvious solution is to include the under age 65 population. This allows people to keep their own doctor and relieves employers from having to choose health plans for their employees.
    To expand HSA’s the unfair tax treatment that only really benefits people in the higher tax brackets it should be changed from an above the line deduction to a revenue neutral below the line tax credit. This would encourage lower income people to set up and contribute to HSA’s. HSA’s are currently available as an option for Medicare part C (Medicare Advantage) plans. Private insurers would still participate in selling Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans as well as Medicare part D prescription drug plans.

  • …this will hit many on the low income side severely. One member of Congress referred to healthcare before the ACA as the best in the world. Best for whom? Certainly not the individual who kept facing rising premiums, rising deductibles, rising out of pocket limits, and more restrictions/rules for coverage (like no chronic or pre existing conditions).

    The US is the only industrialised nation in the world with a healthcare system that primarily benefits the for profit private insurance industry and pharmaceutical corporations, not the patient. The ACA, while it has flaws (some from having to make compromises with Republicans in Congress) is still a step in the right direction compared to what we had before it which was nothing. Proponents of repealing it, or even major provisions of the plan, do not realise that when more people are uninsured, costs for everyone go up due to an increase in “charity” cases where a hospital has to absorb the entire cost of treatment. These costs need to be passed along somewhere and that somewhere is usually companies that offer, and individuals who paid out of pocket for health plans.

    A populace which is more unhealthy due to the fact many more will not be able to afford treatment or medications will also be more expensive to deal with on a national level in the long run. To continue making profits over rising costs, insurance companies will need to keep increasing premiums, deductibles, and other costs to their customers until only the affluent will be able to afford it.

    This is not providing for the “general welfare” of this nation’s citizens.

    That is the trouble with politicians, they often don’t consider the future ramifications of their actions.

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