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Wed May 24, 2017, 07:04 PM

slate - CBO Says Trumpcare Would Screw Old People, Trigger Premium Spike Before Midterm Elections

by Ben Mathis-Lilley

House Republicans who voted for the American Health Care Act have already been taking heat from constituents who are worried that it will leave them uninsurable or cripple them financially, and the unpopularity of the AHCA is one reason Democrats have been getting big ideas about taking back the House. Wednesday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimate of how the insurance market would be affected if the AHCA became law, and two of the projections it makes in particular stand out as dangers for Republicans from an immediate electoral perspective.

The first is that the CBO says that the AHCA—which, to put it in broad strokes, cuts taxes on wealthy individuals and reduces the amount that the government spends on health care for everyone else accordingly—will be particularly rough on low-income individuals between the ages of 51 and 64. (You become eligible for Medicare at age 65.)

The CBO cannot be any more explicit that this bill would be hell on the elder poor. pic.twitter.com/6bwThaTF7O

— Jordan Weissmann (@JHWeissmann) May 24, 2017

CBO estimates that in states requesting AHCA waivers, premiums for low-income elderly enrollees would go up 800 percent. That is not a typo. pic.twitter.com/W7QC4z9UUS

— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) May 24, 2017
Those are long-term estimates of what would happen once all the AHCA components are enacted. The short term, though, doesn't look good either, as the CBO also projects that the bill would cause premiums in the "nongroup market"—for insurance purchased individually on state exchanges—to jump significantly right away.

H.R. 1628, as passed by the House, would tend to increase such premiums before 2020, relative to those under current law— by an average of about 20 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 2019, as the funding provided by the act to reduce premiums had a larger effect on pricing.
Seventy-four percent of voters in the most recent election said health care was a very important issue to them. Older voters also famously vote at much higher rates than younger ones. 2018 is going to be an interesting year!

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