CBO: Obamacare Replacement Raises Premiums For Older, Poor Americans By 750%, Leaves 52 Million Uninsured

Health Care

The Republican replacement for Obamacare, American Health Care Act, would make a low-income 64-year-old in the individual market pay more than half his income for health insurance. It is also expected to leave 52 million Americans uninsured by 2026. So much for Trump’s promise of “Insurance for everyone.”

The Republican-backed American Health Care Act would be totally devastating to older Americans who rely on the individual market for insurance, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Vox reported The bill does bring down overall premiums in the individual market by about 10 percent by 2026 compared with what they would be under current law, the CBO found. But the CBO includes a big caveat: This would greatly differ based on age and income.

The CBO offers an example of a single individual with an annual income of $26,500.

If that person is 21 years old, he’ll benefit from the Republican health care bill. Under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), he would on average pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance. Under the Republican plan, he would pay $1,450.

But if that person is 64 years old, he would be hurt by the Republican bill. Under Obamacare, he would also pay $1,700 in premiums for insurance. But under the Republican bill, he would pay $14,600 — more than half his annual income. That amounts to more than a 750 percent increase in premiums from Obamacare to the Republican bill.

A 64-year-old who’s making $68,200 a year would fare a bit better. Under Obamacare, he’s expected to pay $15,300 in premiums for insurance — because his income would be too high to receive the law’s tax credits. But under the Republican bill, everyone below $75,000 gets a tax credit based on age (with a phaseout for higher incomes). So he would get a subsidy that would reduce his premium to $14,600.

Here’s how all of that looks in chart form:

Seniors with an annual income of $75,000 or more would get fewer to no subsidies under the Republican bill. So they would likely face higher premiums than they did under Obamacare, much like the lower-income consumer.

The Republican bill accomplishes all of this in two ways:

First, it abandons Obamacare’s income-based tax credits (which give more money to people with lower incomes) to instead give anyone with an annual salary below $75,000 a tax credit based on age, with older people getting more money and a phaseout for higher incomes.

But it also peels back an Obamacare rule that protects older people from higher premiums. Under Obamacare, insurers are generally only allowed to charge an older person about three times what they would charge a younger person — under the theory that older people are often sicker and therefore need to use more insurance. But under the Republican bill, the limit of three times would go up to five times, effectively letting insurers charge older people 66 percent more than they would under Obamacare.

Republicans argue this is necessary because it would also let insurers charge younger people less, which would encourage younger and generally healthier people to come into the insurance pool — and therefore bring down the overall cost of health care by making it so more younger, healthier people are effectively subsidizing everyone’s care.

The CBO found that statement is generally true, but it will be at a deadly cost to elderly, poor Americans.

“We disagree strenuously with the report,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said. “The CBO report’s coverage numbers defy logic.”

Leslie Dach, director of the Protect Our Care Coalition, said the loss of insurance by up to 24 million would be “a tragedy for our nation.

“But even more traumatic are the millions of individual nightmares that will play out if this bill becomes law – parents with sick children who won’t be able to afford care, older Americans who will see their premiums skyrocket, and every person worried about paying for their prescription drugs,” Dach said.

Trump’s pledge to have insurance for everyone has proven to be another lie.  The republican health plan to replace Obamacare will leave 42 million uninsured immediately with that number increasing to 52 million by 2026.  Perhaps Trump does not include elderly and poor people when he says “everyone”.

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)

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