On June 22, Republicans in the U.S. Senate revealed their Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) proposal to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. This bill also includes dramatic cuts to health care for seniors, people with disabilities, children and others through Medicaid, as well as $563 billion in tax cuts, primarily for wealthy Americans and the medical industry. Last week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of the bill, which estimated that if it became law, millions more Americans would live without health insurance by 2026.
Here are a few key findings from the analysis:
- The BCRA will mean 22 million more people would lack health insurance by 2026 relative to current law. This means in 2026, 49 million people in the United States will be uninsured, reversing the historic gains in health care coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
- Medicaid, which provides health insurance to low-income families and children, the elderly, and people living with disabilities, would be cut by $772 billion over the next 10 years. As a result, 15 million fewer people would have health insurance through Medicaid, that they count on to see the doctor when they have the flu, to help manage their diabetes, or when they’re older and need long-term nursing home care.
- The cost of health insurance through the individual market would increase substantially for many, especially for older Americans. Under current law, a 64-year-old with an annual income of $56,800 faces an annual premium of $6,800 for a typical health insurance plan. Under BCRA, that premium would be over three times as much, and would take up more than one-third of their income.
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on this bill after the July 4th recess. While negotiations will be ongoing and minor details could change, the Senate’s proposal would be extremely harmful for millions of Americans. U.S. Senators should reject this bill and instead come up with a plan that builds on the successes of the ACA by further increasing the number of people with quality health insurance and lowering health care costs for all Americans.