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Millions will lose coverage under proposed new healthcare legislation


The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that in 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured under the proposed senate health care legislation than under the current law—popularly known as Obamacare. In addition, the proposal would reportedly reduce federal deficits by $321 billion over the coming decade.

After additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the non-group market and to the Medicaid program took effect, the increase in the number of uninsured people would rise to 19 million in 2020 and then to 22 million in 2026.

Additionally, the senate proposal is a little more than $200 billion less than what the house has approved. Under the following, the number of uninsured would drop as the level of subsidy available is cut.

Last Monday, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California issued this statement in response to the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the GOP health care bill: “We should make it easier for Americans to increase access to quality, affordable health care, not make it harder. This report confirms what we already know: The Republican bill kicks millions of Americans off their health insurance in order to provide the wealthiest in America with a tax cut. Twenty-two million more Americans would be uninsured over the next decade including 15 million Americans next year, costs will go up for middle class families, and care will be in jeopardy for millions of seniors, women, children, and those with preexisting conditions.

“The priorities of this bill are backwards. It cuts $772 billion from Medicaid programs that help seniors pay for nursing home care, that support children with special needs, and that allow Americans to access opioid treatment. It causes millions of Americans with insurance coverage through their employer to lose coverage. It will make premiums go up an average of 20 percent next year and cause coverage to be worse. All while giving insurance companies and the top 1 percent tax breaks.

This proposal is downright immoral. We must reject this bill and pursue meaningful, bipartisan improvements to our health care system for all the American people.”

According to polls released Wednesday, America agrees.

According to two new polls, the Senate bill to replace Obamacare (called the Better Care Reconciliation Act) has very, very low approval ratings. One survey, by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist, found only 17 percent of U.S. adults approve of the bill, while 55 percent disapprove. (The rest are unsure.) Another survey, by USA Today and Suffolk University, found even lower ratings — with only 12 percent support.

The numbers remain pretty abysmal for the Senate health care bill even if you only look at Republicans, with only 35 percent giving it their approval in the survey by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist.

These numbers suggest that people quite possibly feel even worse about the Senate bill than they did about the House effort, dubbed the American Health Care Act. One Quinnipiac University poll, for example, found the House bill’s approval at 17 percent — that was one of the worst polling results for that bill, with other surveys putting it at 20 percent or more.

These polls are still very bad news for the GOP. A repeal and replace bill is Republicans’ top legislative priority and many Republicans feel they were elected or reelected specifically do to this. That’s why both houses of Congress are pushing to pass a repeal and replace bill so quickly after President Donald Trump took office. Yet by the looks of it, Americans don’t like the idea of a piece of legislation that will take the health insurance of tens of millions of people—and both of the Republican bills are projected to do just that.

There are a number of reasons why conservatives dislike Obamacare. There is a widespread belief on the right that the main driver of the federal government’s fiscal woes is the soaring cost of health entitlements, like Medicare and Medicaid. Americans who can afford to buy insurance directly from a provider are charged higher premiums to help to pay for the subsidies provided to those who buy their coverage from government-run marketplaces—this is the sort of redistributive economics that is anathema to the party of small government.

Many conservatives, including Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s health secretary, see the drive for universal insurance as evidence of government meddling in the private doctor-patient relationship.

Among the other challenges, is how to fund and pay for the expansion of Medicaid which covers care for the disabled and the poor. The bill, should it pass as is, would cost more for older Americans, and middle-class households would see an average tax cut of $280, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. In contrast, a household in the top 1 percent would get a cut of $250,000. Looking at overall distribution, two-thirds of the $700 billion would line the pockets of the richest one-fifth of Americans.

Among other concerns with Obamacare is the increase in premiums and requirement that everyone purchases healthcare or face a fine. Many young people consider this onerous despite the subsidies for which they might qualify.

Republican lawmakers are struggling to gain the votes needed to pass the GOP-written proposal, and that is pushing legislation closer to something that resembles a bipartisan bill.