The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act could cost less money but leave tens of millions of Americans uninsured in less than a decade.
The plan would cut federal spending by more than $337 billion between 2017 and 2026, according to budget office analysis. Much of the savings result from cuts to Medicaid and insurance subsidies. Within roughly the same period, 24 million more people would be without health insurance. That means in a decade, 52 million people would be uninsured, analysts estimated. By comparison, analysts say, 28 million Americans would be uninsured at that time if the Affordable Care Act remains in place.
The American Health Care Act, released by the GOP last week, represents years of conservative opposition to former President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Under the Affordable Care Act, 20 million people gained health care coverage nationwide, according to a 2016 estimate from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Leading up to the announcement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the budget office was “way, way off the last time in every aspect of how they score and projected Obamacare,” according to the Associated Press.
“If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” he said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said people would lose health care coverage under the plan, but he stressed that lack of coverage would be a matter of choice rather than mandate. In a written statement released shortly after the budget office released its findings, Ryan said Congress must deliver on its promise to fix the nation’s health care: “This report confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care.”