WASHINGTON — The American Health Care Act would leave 51 million Americans uninsured by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The office and the Joint Committee on Taxation released its estimates Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1628.
If the legislation became law, the number of uninsured people would be 23 million more than if the Affordable Care Act remained in place. In its March report of the legislation, the office estimated the amount would be 24 million person difference.
The original version of the bill was pulled on March 24 amid concerns over lacking Republican support in the House of Representatives.
The CBO also said by 2020, one-sixth of the population would reside in areas in which nongroup insurance markets would become unstable.
Premiums would rise over time, and people who are “less healthy,” including those with pre-existing conditions, “would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law,” according to the report summary.
Older people, as well as those at risk of getting sick, would face higher premiums.
“Unless a state sets a different limit, H.R. 1628 would allow insurers to charge older people five times more than younger ones beginning in 2018,” the report stated.
“The House of Representatives passed this healthcare law quickly and without waiting to see the impact it will have on the most vulnerable Americans,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said in a statement. “They were motivated by politics, not people. The CBO score proves what we already knew to be true – this bill is bad for West Virginians.”
In terms of the federal deficit, it would decrease by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026 under the legislation, mostly by cutting $834 billion from Medicaid.
Under the American Health Care Act, states would be allowed to request waivers to opt out of certain coverages. If states are granted a waiver, they would be able to use funding to create high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions.
Medicaid expansion would be rolled back and states would be provided grant money based on a per capita cap.
More than 170,000 people in West Virginia gained access to Medicaid when it was expanded.
According to the American Hospital Association, more than 68,000 West Virginians would lose their Medicaid coverage by 2018, and 126,000 would not have coverage by 2026.
The “Obamacare” individual mandate would be eliminated and replaced with a 30 percent surcharge for those without coverage for more than 63 days within a one-year period.
Some popular parts of the Affordable Care Act would remain, including covering pre-existing conditions and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they become 26.
All three of West Virginia’s representatives — David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins — voted for the legislation.
“Senator Capito has repeatedly said that any legislation that the Senate considers must provide affordable access to health care for West Virginians, including those who currently receive coverage through the Medicaid expansion,” Capito communications director Ashley Berrang said.
Senate Republican leaders asked Capito on May 9 to join discussions regarding health care bill proposals from the chamber after they were criticized for not having a female Senator in the 13-member group. It is not clear if her membership was permanent.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters Tuesday it has been an “awkward process” in crafting a new health care law.
“There are no experts. There’s no actuarials,” Corker said. “Typically, in a hearing, you’d have people coming in and you’d also have the media opining about if a hearing took place, and ‘X’ came in and made comments.”
Capito previously said the Senate needs make sure people with pre-existing conditions are covered under the law.