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Congressional Budget Office Examines Potential Impact of American Health Care Act

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released an estimate of potential effects of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill recently introduced by U.S. House Republicans to effect the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The report, issued on March 13, 2017, says enacting the legislation would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. However, it also predicts that, by 2026, the number of uninsured could increase by 24 million relative to the current law.

"The reductions in insurance coverage between 2018 and 2026 would stem in large part from changes in Medicaid enrollment—because some states would discontinue their expansion of eligibility, some states that would have expanded eligibility in the future would choose not to do so, and per-enrollee spending in the program would be capped," says the CBO.

Here are some of the other estimates included in the CBO report:

  • 14 million fewer people will be enrolled in Medicaid in 2026.
  • 7 million people would lose employer coverage by 2026.
  • Premiums would rise for the first two years and then decline after that to levels below expected under current law as a result of attracting additional younger people into risk pools.
  • Older individuals would pay more for premiums. While older people receive a larger tax credit, premiums would be up to 5 times higher than younger individuals (currently 3 times under current law).
  • American Health Care Act tax credits for lower income people would be less than current law while they would be higher for upper income people, especially those with incomes about 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

PAMED's 8 Principles of Health Care Reform

The Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED) position on health care reform is linked to the eight principles adopted by the PAMED Board of Trustees in 2009. More recently, the PAMED Board of Trustees adopted a policy statement that strongly supports the retention of all benefits related to women's health care as stipulated in the ACA, including maternity care coverage, contraceptive coverage, and cancer screening.

On March 13, 2017, American Medical Association (AMA) President Andrew Gurman, MD, issued a statement in response to the CBO's findings. "Today's estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office underscore the AMA's concerns about the AHCA as it is written: If this bill were to become law, CBO projects 14 million Americans who have gained coverage in recent years could lose it in 2018," said Dr. Gurman. "For the AMA, that outcome is unacceptable."

The AMA is asking Congress to work together to improve proposed health care legislation to ensure that it is focused on better patient health and meeting the needs of patients.

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Rodolfo Lazo Furigay

I am a lifetime member of the AMA, the same AMA who was against Medicare, the same AMA who supported the ACA (Obamacare). I am disappointed of their 'outright' rejection of ACHA. There is nothing wrong with eliminating mandating features of the ACA (a main reason of increasing health care cost), nothing wrong with giving free choice, certainly nothing wrong with professional liability reforms.

Saturday, March 18, 2017 12:31:09 PM