Maryland groups that have been opposed to American Health Care Act pointed to the Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday to support their position.
The analysis by the nonpartisan CBO found the Republican-backed health care plan would result in 14 million more Americans without insurance next year. That number increases to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026.
“The CBO score shows the proposal would result in a significant coverage rollback, which confirms hospitals’ opposition to the plan,” said Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association.
Opponents argue that the health care plan does not help increase coverage or care, but instead provides fiscal relief for the government and acts as a tax break. The CBO analysis underscored their position they, said.
“President (Donald) Trump and congressional Republicans promised that their ACA repeal plan would provide better care, cover more people and cost less. This plan does exactly the opposite,” said Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.
The CBO said a significant number of the uninsured next year would be those who choose not to buy insurance without the individual mandate, which the American Health Care Act repeals.
The report also projects premiums to increase prior to 2020, relative to the Affordable Care Act, and have decreasing premiums starting in 2020.
The CBO projects the decrease in premiums based on projections that older enrollees would see much higher premiums.
“Under the legislation, insurers would be allowed to generally charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones rather than three times more as under current law, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and substantially raising premiums for older people,” the report said.
But not everyone agrees with the CBO analysis. The White House said it disagreed with the numbers in the report (although Politico reports the Trump administration’s own analysis projects higher numbers of uninsured Americans).
The skepticism extends to Maryland’s lone Republican representative in Congress.
“The coverage number is just not believable,” said Rep. Andy Harris. “CBO got it wrong on its initial and later estimates for Obamacare coverage and they got it wrong now.”
Harris has not fully supported the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but has said he thinks the law will lead to a collapse of the insurance marketplace and needs to be repealed.
“The Obamacare exchanges are in a death spiral and its collapse is inevitable,” Harris said.
The CBO analysis that Harris disputed estimated that neither the current law nor the proposed legislation would decrease market stability.
“In CBO and (the Joint Committee on Taxation’s) assessment, however, the nongroup market would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the legislation,” the report said.
The nine Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation have opposed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.