More than 23 million Americans could lose their health insurance under the healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month, according to a new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office released Wednesday.
The proposed bill, which passed the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Rep. Paul Ryan, by one vote and was celebrated by party leaders with a press conference at the White House, would increase the number of uninsured citizens by 14 million next year, according to The New York Times. It would then grow to 23 million by 2026.
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The American Health Care Act is the Republican party's replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's hallmark law that expanded healthcare coverage to millions. The ACA broadened the Medicaid program and banned insurers from hiking up prices for people with pre-existing conditions, which helped millions of low-income and high-risk Americans gain affordable health care.
The AHCA would scale back those expansions, and, in doing so, reduce the federal deficit by about $119 billion over a decade, according to the CBO estimate. That number is lower than the original $150 billion in savings projected in the House's original version of the bill in March, which did not have a floor vote due to lack of support and public outrage.
The initial version of the bill would have caused up to 24 million people to lose their insurance within a decade, the CBO estimated.
The new bill is currently in the Senate, where lawmakers have said they will try to rework the AHCA proposal yet again to gain enough support to bring it to a vote in that chamber. If the bill were signed into law in its current version, it could have dramatic consequences for the nation's poorest and sickest residents.
“Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” the budget office said.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said earlier this week that he didn't know “how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment, but that’s the goal.”