The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office weighed in on the Senate health care bill on Monday, saying that 22 million people would lose health coverage in the next 10 years under the Senate’s plan. Of those, 15 million would lose Medicaid coverage. It’s projected to lower the deficit by billions over 10 years, and also cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Medicaid covers low-income people including children, pregnant women, older people in nursing homes and the disabled. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government offered subsidies to help states to cover more people, though 19 states chose not to accept the federal money.
For individuals who purchase health coverage on the exchanges, the CBO says prices will vary — some will see lower premiums, especially in states that opt out of some consumer protections, which will allow insurers to sell plans that offer fewer benefits. However, for people would like to purchase plans that cover the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, including mental health coverage, addiction treatment, maternity care and prescription drug coverage, costs could go way up.
Other provisions in the Senate proposal would reduce subsidies and cause out-of-pocket costs to rise, the CBO says. As a result, starting in 2020, “despite being eligible for premium tax credits, few low-income people would purchase any plan.”