CBO: Healthcare bill amendments reduce expected savings, make little difference in coverage

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A set of amendments to the American Health Care Act would reduce the amount the bill is expected to save the federal government.

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released an updated analysis of the American Health Care Act that incorporates the amendments made to the bill earlier this week.

The new estimates do not, however, take into account any of the last-minute amendments added to the bill Thursday night in a bid to win over reluctant House conservatives.

The CBO found that the so-called manager’s amendments would considerably lessen the expected savings associated with the AHCA compared to the original version. The amended bill would reduce federal deficits by $150 billion from 2017 to 2016, whereas the original would have saved $337 billion over the same time period, per the CBO’s estimate.

The expected reduction in savings, the CBO said, primarily stem from two factors: Provisions that affect the Internal Revenue Code—such as adjusting the effective date of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s taxes—and changes to Medicaid.

As for the expected impact on health insurance coverage, the amendments make little difference compared to the previous version of the bill, the CBO found. Both versions, it predicted, would increase the number of uninsured individuals by 24 million people relative to current law by 2026.

Also like the previous version, the amended bill would cause premiums to rise by an average of 15-20% in 2018 and 2019, and then fall by 10% relative to current law by 2026.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a final version of the bill, after President Donald Trump indicated he was finished negotiating on the AHCA.  

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