Report projects millions would lose health insurance under GOP plan; Utah impact

FIle photo: House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, standing with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, speaks during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 7, 2017 | AP Photo/Susan Walsh, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An estimated 14 million people would lose their health coverage next year under House Republicans’ proposed American Health Care Act, according to a nonpartisan budget analysis by Congress.

In this file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP’s long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 9, 2017 | AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

The report by the Congressional Budget Office also estimates the number of people losing coverage would grow to 24 million by 2026, essentially negating the gains achieved by former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Currently, nearly 200,000 Utah residents have enrolled for coverage under the “Obamacare” health exchange, and St. George’s zip codes represent the fifth highest in the state for sign-ups under the exchange, according to an analysis by the Utah Health Policy Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that tackles issues relating to health.

Under the proposed GOP plan, the budget office found that average premiums for individuals would rise in 2018 and 2019 by 15-20 percent compared to current law, because Republicans would eliminate the penalties designed to encourage people to buy insurance.

By 2020, premiums would begin to fall in comparison to current law, and by 2026 average premiums for people buying individual coverage would be roughly 10 percent lower than current law.

However, by then the report estimates a total of 52 million people would lack insurance.

This undermines the Republican argument that health insurance markets created under “Obamacare” are unstable and about to implode. The congressional experts said that largely would not be the case, and the market for individual health insurance policies would “probably be stable in most areas either under current law or the (GOP) legislation.”

Over 160,000 Utahns rely on the current premium subsidies and cost-savings to maintain their family’s health insurance that this new bill would strip away to pay for tax cuts to the wealthiest among us,” Matt Slonaker, executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, said in a newsletter. “Instead of making health insurance more affordable, it would make reliable coverage unreachable for thousands of Utah families …”

A senior citizen couple in their early 60s earning $42,000 and living in Washington County would see their tax credits decrease by $6,500 per year. Changes to age-ratings could also spike their premiums by 30 percent, according to an analysis by the Utah Health Policy Project.

Premiums would vary significantly for people of different ages because of a change Republicans would make allowing elderly people to be charged more for insurance coverage, compared to young people, than allowed under Obamacare.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 13, 2017 | AP photo by Andrew Harnik, St. George News

Backed by President Donald Trump, House Republican leaders say coverage statistics are misleading because rising out-of-pocket costs make the policies many gained under Obama’s statute unaffordable.

Though the Republican tax credits would be less generous than those under Obamacare, the combination of those credits and other changes to lower premiums would attract enough healthy people to stabilize markets under the new plan, according to the report.

Thanks to cuts to Medicaid expansion and Obamacare subsidies, the budget office concluded that the GOP measure would also reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over the coming decade, a figure lauded by the proposed law’s supporters.

Associated Press reporters Alan Fram, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Julie Pace, Ken Thomas, Erica Werner and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • comments March 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Well, if you’re rich you will come out ok. For everyone else your on your own, so good luck. Will the donald just go along with all that the GOP neo-cons put forward? That’s actually a worst case scenario. I’m still extremely skeptical of Mr Trump. Not even sure he has the brains, the will, or the motivation to challenge the neo-con establishment.

    • .... March 14, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Hey Bob maybe you can write a letter to your reelected Republican Governor I’m sure he cares what you think.

  • comments March 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    And Mr Paul Ryan fits the profile of a sociopath, for those unaware.

    • Utahguns March 14, 2017 at 7:35 am

      ….Have any opinions of Pelosi, Schummer, Clinton, Warren and other left wing dodos you wish to share?

      • comments March 14, 2017 at 11:18 am

        Can’t figure out if ur trying to defend Paul Ryan by deflection. Is he worth defending?

        • Utahguns March 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm

          I thought my question was quite direct…..

          • comments March 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm

            They’re all bad. Some are worse than others. Ryan, along with Pelosi, Schummer, and Clinton are some of the worst. In a just world they’d all be …done.

          • comments March 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm

            the 2 ruling parties are both corrupted filth for the most part. Honest men don’t last in politics.

          • comments March 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

            But you already know all this…..

      • .... March 14, 2017 at 8:23 pm

        Well that’s Bob the bigot for ya !

  • Craig March 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I consider it biased reporting when you do not include that we were lied to by Obama concerning our doctor and health care plan.

    It’s equally biased to not discuss those who lost their insurance and could purchase a very inferior product at 2-3 times the cost with premiums rising 20% and more.

    It’s also biased to not discuss how the selection of insurance companies has completely disappeared in some area.

    I think the current proposals are as bad as Obamacare.

    Why do you only see flaws in the current proposals? Not very objective.

  • commonsense March 13, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    This headline is very misleading. Yes, people will lose Obamacare (it will be gone) but they will have the option of purchasing an array of policies at better pricing. The replacement bill will be about choice of better options. Lower income families will get tax subsidies. Those who don’t want insurance have that option too.

    • Utahguns March 14, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Commonsense is spot on….
      The media spins this as a situation where “people will lose their insurance”….
      If you have the options available to you that the new program will provide, then yes, you will be able to shed your overpriced Obamacare plan and not be victim to IRS penalties. I’m still reeling from the Obamacare supportive statement that Pelosi said where “we have to pass it to see what’s in it”….
      Instead of giving the public the real information that we deserve concerning the benefits of the new healthcare programs, the media continues to mislead us with snippets of lies and deception. That’s why the public’s distrust of news outlets is continuing to grow.

      Be careful STG News…don’t start associating yourself with the lies and vitreol that the left is spinning.

  • Not_So_Much March 14, 2017 at 7:50 am

    The federal government has no authority to be involved with health care. The free market must decide. The GOP will pay for this deceit in future elections.

    • Utahguns March 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Wait a minute….

      Wasn’t it the democrats and the Obama’s government that that forced Obamacare and the IRS on us?
      Where do you get that the GOP is at fault?

  • UHPP-HP March 14, 2017 at 9:50 am

    There are over 12,500 residents of Washington County on private market ACA insurance. A high percentage of them are older (age 50+) and will not only face 20-30% higher premiums under the Republican–sponsored repeal bill (because it moves the age ratio from 3:1 to 5:1), but also much lower tax credits.
    A St. George couple in their early 60’s would see their annual tax credit decrease from $14,000 a year to $8,000 a year while their premiums would rise 30%… to over $18,000 a year. How are they going to stay insured?
    And younger people will be hurt, too.
    Under the repeal bill, a family of four earning $120,000 a year would pay less in premiums than a family of four earning $40,000 a year.
    How does that make sense.
    Then there’s the $880 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) in cuts to Medicaid for states, which will reduce coverage for kids, pregnant women, kids with disabilities, and seniors in assisted living homes.
    Read the bill… and you’ll see how bad it is.
    http://www.healthpolicyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/ACA-Repeal-1pager-5js.pdf

    • comments March 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Well, working hard to eliminate the middle class is what republicans have been trying to do for a long time. Will the donald just fold over to all neo-con agendas? time will tell

      • .... March 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        Hey Bob write a letter to your reelected Republican Governor I’m sure he cares what you think

        • Real Life March 15, 2017 at 6:25 am

          You are constantly repeating yourself, again. Must be the meds, again.

  • Badshitzoo March 15, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Honestly, who cares! I’m going to continue calling 911 for a ride to the ER to get some BP meds, and asprin for my monthly PMS headache; and ya’ll can pay for it everytime! It runs about 10k a visit if the ambulance brings me in. So Obama, Bush, Trump, Clinton who cares! The ER is always open, and on the house!

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