Congressional Budget Office Releases Report on American Health Care Act
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as reported by the Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce. CBO estimates that AHCA would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over ten years. The total consists of $323 billion in on-budget savings and $13 billion in off-budget savings. The outlays would be reduced by $1.2 trillion over the same period, and revenues would be reduced by $883 billion.
CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that 14 million more people would be uninsured under the AHCA in 2018. CBO further projects that “following additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the nongroup market and to the Medicaid program, the increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise to 21 million in 2020 and then to 24 million in 2026.” By 2026, CBO estimates 52 million people would be uninsured, as compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.
CBO and JCT estimate that average health insurance premiums in the individual market would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher than under the ACA. This is because the individual mandate penalties would be eliminated, leading to fewer healthy people signing up for insurance.
JCT and CBO estimate that the AHCA would result in private sector mandates totaling $156 million in 2017, adjusted annually for inflation. Finally, CBO is uncertain about part of its estimates as it cannot determine “the ways in which federal agencies, states, insurers, employers, individuals, doctors, hospitals, and other affected parties would respond to the changes made by the legislation…”
In accordance with the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the House Budget Committee is scheduled to meet this week to report the reconciliation bill. The Committee’s role is simply to package the two bills from the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
Following the Budget Committee’s action, the House Rules Committee will meet to develop a rule, which would govern floor debate for the American Health Care Act. It is possible the Rules Committee may fold bills reported by the Education and the Workforce Committee into the reconciliation package. The House Majority Leadership plans to take the AHCA to the floor next week.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-KY] plans to skip the committee process and take up the House-passed bill. As this legislation works its way through the Congress, we will provide further client alerts as necessary.