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CBO: Hundreds of Thousands of Coloradans Could Lose Health Coverage

The GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cut Colorado's Medicaid funding by $14 billion, and cause 23 million people nationally to lose health coverage, according to the latest estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. (Getty Images)
The GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cut Colorado's Medicaid funding by $14 billion, and cause 23 million people nationally to lose health coverage, according to the latest estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. (Getty Images)
May 25, 2017

DENVER – The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says 23 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law.

Some 14 million would lose coverage because of plans to cut Medicaid by $884 billion.

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Center and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says states such as Colorado would have a hard time making up for a loss of $14 billion in federal funds.

"We would see hundreds of thousands of people lose their benefits – kids, seniors, people with disabilities, low-income people,” he points out. “I think we'd see hospitals have their ERs flooded again with patients who are not paying. It would obviously have a negative impact on the economy."

The CBO predicts the uninsured rate would increase from 10 percent to close to 18 percent in the next decade.

The AHCA narrowly passed in the U.S. House earlier this month. Some Senate Republicans have promised to make sure Medicaid recipients would be protected under the new law.

The CBO says the Republican plan could lower premiums by 4 to 20 percent by 2026.

Slavitt notes those reductions would come at the expense of rising costs for many sicker and low-income people as well as Coloradans between 50 and 60 who would no longer be able to afford insurance.

"Under the new law, if it were to pass, people who were in that age group would be able to be charged five times as much for insurance as younger people,” he states. “In some cases, as much as $7,000 of additional costs to get covered."

Proponents of the plan argue block granting Medicaid funds to states would spark innovative solutions.

Slavitt disagrees.

"This really is about the federal government saving money – cutting the money that they give to states for care, and then taking that money and turning around and providing a tax break to very high income people, the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies," he states.

The CBO estimates the Republican bill could cut the federal deficit by $119 billion in 10 years.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO