CBO: New version of BCRA, minus Cruz amendment, still leaves 22M more uninsured

Health insurance benefits form
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the third revision of the Better Care Reconciliation Act will result in 22 million additional uninsured individuals by 2026, relative to current law. (Getty/michaelquirk)

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday came out with its second score of a Senate healthcare bill in as many days—this time, assessing a newly tweaked version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

This third revision of the bill, the CBO estimates, will result in 22 million additional uninsured individuals by 2026, relative to current law. That’s the same number the agency estimated for the first version of the bill. The CBO also projects that the two versions of the bill will have a similar effect on individual market premiums—increasing them before 2020 and lowering them in later years.

RELATED: CBO report says 22M more uninsured, but Senate healthcare reform bill would stabilize markets, reduce deficit

The latest version would result in more savings, however, as it’s estimated to cut the federal deficit by $420 billion in 10 years, compared to the CBO’s $321 billion estimate for the first version of the bill. 

The retention of some Affordable Care Act taxes that the previous version of the bill would have eliminated, the CBO notes, is the main reason why this new version of the BCRA is estimated to result in larger savings.

This version of the BCRA scored by the CBO does not include the controversial amendment introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, which would have let insurers sell some bare-bones individual market plans. The version that includes Cruz’s amendment has not yet been scored by the CBO. An early draft of an analysis of the amendment from HHS leaked Wednesday, but policy experts were dubious about its merits.


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