Senate 'repeal only' bill would leave 32 million more uninsured, CBO says

A revived bill that would dismantle large parts of Obamacare without an immediate replacement would leave 32 million more people uninsured and double premiums over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report Wednesday.

The legislation — an update of the repeal measure nearly all GOP senators voted for in 2015 — is on track to reach the Senate floor early next week, where it likely would fail. [See Addendum below to make sure this will be true].

Republican leaders pledged to put the bill to a vote after their initial effort to repeal and replace Obamacare fell apart in stunning fashion, though a number of holdout lawmakers are meeting later tonight to try to salvage the effort.

If that fails, CBO's analysis offers a stark look at the GOP's remaining option for following through on their seven-year vow to repeal Obamacare.

The nonpartisan scorekeeper's report projects that 17 million people would lose insurance in the first year after a partial repeal that includes ending Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and repealing most of the taxes tied to the law. Premiums would jump 25 percent over that same period as insurers grapple with the effective elimination of Obamacare's requirement that everyone purchase coverage.

The bill would slash the deficit by $473 billion over a decade, the agency said.

Those findings are in line with CBO's estimates for the original 2015 bill in January and far outstrip the coverage losses associated with the Senate GOP's own repeal bill. CBO predicted that the Better Care Reconciliation Act would leave 22 million people uninsured over a decade, a figure that alarmed more moderate Republicans and played a major role in the collapsse of the legislation.

This updated, "repeal only" bill would fund Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies for two years, an important difference from 2015 that would temporarily alleviate uncertainty for insurers relying on the money to help enrollees with out-of-pocket costs.

Still, the CBO predicts insurers would flee Obamacare markets once the repeal takes effect following a two-year delay, leaving half the nation's population with no individual coverage options by 2020.

Three moderate Republican senators have already pledged to vote against repealing Obamacare without a replacement, raising doubts about whether the Senate GOP will even have the votes to open debate on the bill.

At least 50 of the 52 Senate Republicans must support the motion to proceed to start deliberations on the legislation.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has encouraged skeptical senators to vote for the procedural motion as a starting point that would allow them to then debate amendments to the bill.

Conservatives like Rand Paul, meanwhile, have pressed colleagues to vote for the same straight repeal measure that all except for Susan Collins supported just two years ago. Then, GOP lawmakers were secure in the knowledge that President Barack Obama would veto it.

But moderate Republicans are already skittish about capping Medicaid's funding and leaving their constituents without coverage, and the updated 2015 bill is projected to have even harsher consequences.

Federal funding for Medicaid would fall by $842 billion over a decade, with changes to the program accounting for 19 million more people going without coverage. An additional 23 million enrollees on the individual insurance market would forgo insurance over a decade compared with current law, in response to the elimination of both the requirement that everyone have coverage and the Obamacare subsidies designed to make insurance more affordable.

That's partially offset by CBO's estimate that roughly 11 million more people would receive insurance through their employer.

Those who do continue to buy insurance on the Obamacare markets would face much higher premiums, or not be able to get coverage at all — by 2026, CBO estimates as much as three-quarters of the population would be without an insurer on the individual market.

Those findings are in line with CBO's estimates for the 2015 bill, released in January.

This new analysis also predicts that insurers would flee the Obamacare markets in response, leaving half the nation's population with no individual market coverage options by 2020

This article appeared in Politico on July 19, 2017.


Addendum. That enemy of the people who occupies the White House is pressuring GOP Senators who surely know better. Make sure you pressure them too. We can and should win this.

Please use the scripts and the lists of Senators below to express your concerns. There are two separate scripts, based on whether the Senator is in favor of a more moderate plan, or a more conservative plan. Regardless of why the Senator might vote No, we want that No vote!

Only have time for one call per Senator? Use the (202) numbers for their Washington offices.

Please post this to your pages and encourage your friends (especially in the home states of these senators) to call!

SCRIPT 1: Hello, I'm calling Senator ________________ to express my concerns about the repeal health care bill. This plan will leave millions of Americans without the health care that they need to live. [Insert personal anecdote here if you have one.] Please, please vote NO on this bill!

Dean Heller (Nevada)

Rob Portman (Ohio)

Susan Collins (Maine)
207- 945-0417
207- 283-1101
207- 493-7873
207- 784-6969
207- 780-3575

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)


Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)


Bob Corker (Tennessee)

John McCain (Arizona)

Mike Rounds (South Dakota)

Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)
202- 224-5824

John Hoeven (North Dakota)
SCRIPT 2: Hello, I'm calling Senator ________________ to express my concerns about the repeal health care bill. While the President is urging this, it would be a disgrace if this country forced its citizens off health insurance, by de-stablizing the markets and forcing insurance rates to rise. Even if the Senator thinks the ACA should not have passed, to simply repeal it is not the way to go. It will cause havoc to Americans.

Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)

Jeff Flake (Arizona)


Cory Gardner (Colorado)

Ted Cruz (Texas)

Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)

Rand Paul (Kentucky)

Mike Lee (Utah)

Ben Sasse (Nebraska)

Show Comments ()


Follow Us On


On Social