The Trump Administration released its complete Fiscal Year 2018 budget on Tuesday, May 23rd.
Health Care Reform Developments
On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its updated cost estimate for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) reflecting all amendments passed by the House. The estimate shows the AHCA as passed will reduce the deficit by $119 billion over ten years, $32 billion less than the deficit reduction estimate of the earlier version of the bill.
The House-passed AHCA would result in 14 million more people uninsured in 2018, according to the CBO. This number would increase to 23 million by 2026 compared to current law. CBO did find fewer people would be uninsured under the House-passed version of the AHCA compared to the previous version.
The estimate also found premiums in the nongroup insurance market would be slightly lower compared to the previous version of the law. However, CBO pointed out that for states that seek a waiver, the lower premiums will be the result of a narrower scope of benefits included in the plan. Therefore, CBO projects that out-of-pocket costs would increase under the AHCA.
The Administration has been critical of the CBO analysis. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price stated “the CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare’s effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asserted that “this report out to be the final nail in the coffin of the Republican effort to sabotage our healthcare system.”
Senate Republicans continue to work on their own version of health care reform. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed concern that the House-passed AHCA will adversely affect older, low-income Americans based on the most recent CBO analysis. Senate Republican staff will be working on a draft version of health care legislation over the Memorial Day recess.
On Wednesday, May 31, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion on the “Future of Health Care: Stabilizing the Individual Insurance Market.” Participants include: Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD); Alice Rivlin, Co-Chair, Debt Reduction Task Force, BPC; and Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Sheila Burke, Chair, Government Relations and Public Policy, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Joel Ario, Managing Director, Manatt Health Solutions; Sabrina Corlette, Research Professor, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute; Mila Kofman, Executive Director, D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority; Brad Wilson, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina; and Brian Webb Assistant Director for Health Policy & Legislation, National Association of Insurance Commissioners.