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Health care bill would drive up premiums for millions, CBO finds

01 June 2017

The CBO released its report on Wednesday, and now we know why the GOP was in such a hurry to move its version of health care reform.

We've noted before that the House GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is a travesty, given that Republicans have had seven years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act to put together their own health care package that actually is good for America. There are many variables - and unforeseen outcomes - that can undermine even the most carefully crafted policy initiative. "It is a damning indictment of congressional Republicans' and President Trump's reassurances that the bill guarantees protection for people with pre-existing conditions", said Emily Gee, health economist at CAP.

Meadows said he's open to making the health bill less conservative - softening his usual hard line against more government spending.

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If the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act became law, almost 117,000 Mainers - a little less than 10 percent of the state's population - would lose health insurance, according to an analysis released Thursday. The CBO report did find that over time premiums would come down under the House bill, even if more people become uninsured. Republicans have repeatedly touted their bill as lowering premiums, but they've said less about how it would affect what consumers have to shell out for care. It would raise premiums for sick people, allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions, gut Medicaid, and slash Social Security funding.

A group of 13 Republican senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to draft their own version of the health care bill in the coming months. Susan Collins (R-ME), chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said in a press release issued after the release of the CBO score. Known as the American Health Care Act, it would also bring an average of 20 percent increase in premiums of individual health plans.

"Advisory to Republicans who support the replacement for Obamacare: Backing this bill could be very hazardous to your political health", said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

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"Congress" focus must be to lower premiums with coverage which passes the "Jimmy Kimmel Test.' The AHCA does not", Cassidy said, referring to ABC late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who made a plea for coverage of patients with pre-existing conditions. But it would cut taxes, which could jolt the economy, and it could prevent the full collapse of Obamacare.You can hear more of our interview with Congressman McKinley above, including info on his work to fight opioid addiction and promoting energy research, or listen to West Virginia Morning, Monday at 7:41 a.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., used a Trump administration report on premiums as the centerpiece for a news conference.

Brooks says that, according to the CBO, the American Health Care Act will lower average premiums in the individual market by 4 to 30 percent or more. Mark Richardson looks at who is most at risk.

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