Full ACA repeal would cost insurers 19M members, grow national deficit as much as $350B

Insurers stand to lose up to 19 million members if the lawmakers completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. 

The CBO's report--which for the first time used a format that Republican lawmakers prefer--also determined that repealing the ACA would grow the national deficit by more than $350 billion in the next 10 years. That's because of lower revenues and the fact that more federal funds would have to be allocated to health programs like Medicare.

When factoring in a repeal's impact on the overall economy, however, the CBO projected an ACA repeal would increase the deficit by $137 billion instead.

Medicaid insurers stand to lose the most members. Of the 19 million people, 14 million would be out of their Medicaid plans. And by 2024, the uninsured population would increase by an additional 24 million people, including 18 million people who lost their individual coverage.

This jump in newly uninsured consumers would come after the national uninsured rate hit an all-time low of 11.9 percent earlier this year.

"If the ACA was repealed, many people would obtain their coverage from a source that differs from current projections, and many others who are projected to retain or gain insurance coverage in the future would instead be uninsured," the CBO said.

However, the CBO did conclude that about 8 million more people would be enrolled in employer-based coverage.

The CBO report acknowledges a level of uncertainty in its estimates. Contributing to the inexact nature of predicting the effect of an ACA repeal is the limited ability to forecast what steps Republican lawmakers will take. Recently, it appeared that Republican efforts to repeal the ACA may have been taken off the table.

To learn more:
- here's the CBO report