Washington, Mar 13 (EFE).- The Republican proposal to overhaul health care in the United States could cause as many as 24 million people to lose their coverage over the next nine years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.
The study released on Monday was highly anticipated given that the CBO independently evaluates the effects of congressional bills, on both the political and economic levels.
Nevertheless, the proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act achieves one of the key objectives of Republican lawmakers, reducing the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years, according to the report.
The US deficit in 2016 amounted to $587 billion.
The greatest savings will come from reductions in Medicaid expenditures, said the report, along with the elimination of subsidies under the ACA, known as Obamacare.
“The reductions in insurance coverage between 2018 and 2026 would stem in large part from changes in Medicaid enrollment – because some states would discontinue their expansion of eligibility, some states that would have expanded eligibility in the future would choose not to do so, and per-enrollee spending in the program would be capped,” the report said.
“In 2026, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law,” it added.
The report’s findings constitute a blow to the Republican leadership, which has long sought to eliminate the current health care reform pushed by ex-President Barack Obama and replace it with this new plan, but GOP lawmakers have not arrived at a consensus on the plan, especially ultraconservatives, who say it does not go far enough, and the more moderate sector of the party.
The bills have already been approved by House committees and they are expected to pass to the full chamber in the coming days, but the major obstacles will come in the Senate, where the Republican majority is narrow and several conservative senators have expressed opposition to the new plan.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said after the report’s release that “Our plan is not about forcing people to buy expensive, one-size-fits-all coverage. It is about giving people more choices and better access to a plan they want and can afford. When people have more choices, costs go down.”
However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “The CBO’s estimate makes clear that Trumpcare will cause serious harm to millions of American families. Tens of millions will lose their coverage, and millions more, particularly seniors, will have to pay more for healthcare.”
Repealing and replacing Obamacare is one of the main campaign promises made by President Donald Trump, who supports the new plan and has launched a media offensive to garner support for it among the public.