GOP Claims Huge AHCA Savings Without Math
If you’ve been following the action in Congress, or have been on Twitter, or have simply turned on the news, you know that commentary about the GOP’s new health care bill is inescapable. Last week, Republicans passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 or the AHCA. And you don’t have to watch C-Span to know that the AHCA is one-hundred and thirty-two pages long, all of which do “health care” differently than the Affordable Care Act, which was President Obama’s signature health care law.
When the House GOP first introduced the AHCA, the bill didn’t even make it to the Senate. But only two months later the party introduced another one…
And this time, the outcome was different. This time, the bill passed the House. And pretty much everyone is going crazy-wild over it — whether positively or negatively.
The ACHA bill means big-time health care changes. If it passes, major parts of the Affordable Care Act would be completely replaced. These changes include:
- Replacing the graduated tax credit to a flat tax credit
- Eliminating cost sharing subsidies
- Cutting the Medicaid expansion program
- Repealing the small business tax credit
- Suspending Planned Parenthood funding
- Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund
- and more… Everyone is talking about this bill, but no media outlets have offered it to you.
What does all of this mean…?
No matter what words are written in the bill — costs matter! The whole point of healthcare reform, say Republicans, is to make everyone healthier for less money.
In the United States, we spend more per person on health care than does any other country. But we are not any the healthier for it, according to USAToday. So how does the American Health Care Act stand up cost-wise?
It would be great to have an independent group of economists and experts who could make an assessment so our ideas about the AHCA’s real costs could be fact-based. If only there were an office that dealt with the costs of laws of Congress…
Turns out there is one! It’s called the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO. According to their website, the Congressional Budget Office is a non-partisan and independent agency that analyses budgetary and economic issues and estimates the costs of legislation. And the CBO did indeed report on a prior version of the AHCA. The two major points in the CBO report were the estimate that over the next decade, twenty-four million people could potentially lose coverage if the AHCA was passed. Over the same time span, as a result of the AHCA, the CBO also estimated that the Federal Budget deficit would shrink by approximately $330 billion. Why don’t we have a report on the cost of the updated GOP health care bill?
Ummm… the CBO didn’t get a chance to finish it yet. The American Health Care Act was pushed through Congress very quickly. The CBO was not given enough time to publish a report. The CBO plans to release a new cost estimate sometime during the week of May 22. Of course, the Senate may change the bill so that that estimate will be out of date. But without a real estimate, the American people can’t make a truly informed judgement about whether or not the AHCA is a good or bad bill.