Analysis Reveals Republican Health Plan Fails Massachusetts
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislative branch’s nonpartisan policy analysis arm, released its analysis of the Republican health plan put forward to replace Obamacare. As expected, the CBO report showed that the Republican’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) would result in drastically reduced health coverage, rising health care costs, and disproportionate harm to the old, the poor, and the sick. Specifically, the report found that 24 million Americans would lose coverage by 2026 and that nationally, premiums would rise anywhere from 15% - 20% in 2018 and 2019.
This authoritative data fueled further analysis that looked at the state-by-state impact of the proposal. We naturally looked at the forecasts for Massachusetts.
One study, by the Center for American Progress (CAP) looked at the impact of the proposed changes in help available through ACA insurance marketplaces, like our Massachusetts Health Connector. The bill would end the ACA's system of sliding scale assistance based on income, and instead substitute flat subsidies based solely on age. In addition, the bill would eliminate help for the co-pays and deductibles in these plans.
The CAP study found that the impact of these changes would be particularly harsh on vulnerable residents of Massachusetts getting help through the Connector. Here’s the projected increase in total costs for Massachusetts, compared to the ACA:
In 2020: Low-income individuals: $1,404 increase
Low income families: $3,172 increase
Older individuals (age 55-64): $1,267 increase
Older families: $1,705 increase
In 2026: Low-income individuals: $2,367 increase
Low income families: $5,629 increase
Older individuals (age 55-64): $2,354 increase
Older families: $3,668 increase
CAP also estimated the impact on coverage, looking at each Congressional District in the country. For Massachusetts, they projected a decline of 539,800 non-elderly people with coverage in 2026, including 87,800 fewer children, and 55,200 fewer people with disabilities with MassHealth coverage. In addition, some 50,000 seniors will lose their MassHealth coverage as well.
Another report from the Democratic staff of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee looked at the impact on private premiums, private coverage and hospital uncompensated care. Combining CBO data with other key data, they found that private premiums would increase in Massachusetts next year an additional $445 to $593 if the proposal was passed. They project an additional 147,616 Bay Staters losing coverage, and an eye-popping increase in hospital uncompensated care in Massachusetts of $132,854,730.
The results are in, and the Republican plan, simply put, would cover fewer people and cost all Americans more for health care. Additionally, low income people, seniors, people living with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations would be singled out for the greatest harm.
Health Care for All’s Director of Policy and Government Relations, Brian Rosman, discussed the impact of the proposed health plan on Boston Neighborhood Network News on Wednesday:
- Alec Lebovitz