WASHINGTON — A Republican Senate bill to repeal Obamacare would cause 17 million fewer people to have insurance within one year, premiums to jump by 25 percent, and insurers to pull out of counties across the country, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The legislation, dubbed the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, would eliminate Obamacare’s taxes and, starting in 2020, cut off funding for its Medicaid expansion and for federal subsidies to buy private insurance. It would also end the individual mandate that penalizes people for not having insurance. The bill would reduce deficits by $473 billion over the next decade.
After 2020, the CBO estimates, half of the nation’s population would live in a county where there were no insurers at all in the individual market. By 2026, 32 million fewer people would have insurance compared to Obamacare and premiums would have doubled.
President Donald Trump and has repeatedly suggested Republicans pass a repeal-only bill, which would take full effect after two years, as a fallback option if they can’t agree on how to replace Obamacare.
At a lunch meeting with Republican Senators on Wednesday, however, he encouraged Republicans to continue working on their own alternative, saying Americans “need a repeal and a replace.”
Republicans in the House and Senate passed a similar version of the repeal bill in 2015, but it was vetoed by President Barack Obama. Three Republican Senators have said they oppose a repeal-only bill this week, enough to prevent it from passing for now.
The CBO has yet to score the latest version of the Senate’s plan to replace Obamacare, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which currently does not have enough votes to pass after key Republicans announced their opposition on Monday evening.
Republican leaders have said they plan to hold votes next week, but are not sure whether they will advance a replacement bill or a repeal-only bill.