We, and much of the Internet, reported the headlines from the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the House Republican health care bill yesterday. The nonpartisan CBO forecast that the number of uninsured Americans would soar; premiums for those buying insurance on their own would first go up, then go down by even more; and the GOP measure would save the government $337 billion.
But the 37-page CBO analysis, and the agency’s 30-minute call with reporters immediately after its release, was full of other significant findings.
- Premiums: Forget the averages. It’s about age. Under the GOP plan, CBO predicts an average 64-year-old American would see premiums jump 20 to 25 percent in 10 years, while premiums would drop 8 percent for a 40-year-old, and slide even more (by 25 percent) for an average 21-year-old. Why is this? Two reasons:
- The Republican bill allows insurers to charge older Americans up to five times more than younger ones. The so-called “age band” is currently limited to charging older people three times more.
- With the Affordable Care Act’s minimum requirements rescinded under the GOP proposal, all Americans would have access to cheaper, more bare-bones plans than they do now. Those most likely to purchase such minimal, low-cost plans? The young and healthy.
- Repealing the 0.9 percent Medicare tax on higher income earners, which would be a $117 billion cut.
- Repealing a fee on health insurers, an estimated $145 billion cut.
- Repealing a 3.8 percent surcharge on higher incomes, equal to about $154 billion.
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