Healthcare

Study: New repeal bill would leave 21 million more without insurance

The Senate GOP's latest ObamaCare repeal bill would reduce the number of people with insurance coverage by at least 21 million by 2026, according to a new study released Friday.

The analysis, completed by the left-leaning Brookings Institution, comes as Senate Republicans move toward a vote on their bill next week.

The legislation advanced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would repeal the individual and employer mandate and eliminate ObamaCare's tax credits and Medicaid expansion. Funding would be converted into block grants that states could use to create their own health-care systems.

After 2026, the block grants would end unless Congress reauthorizes funding. If the funding isn't reauthorized, the Brookings report says 32 million fewer people would likely have insurance.

The group says its calculations likely understate the number of people who would be left without insurance in the program's first seven years, though it acknowledges the prediction is difficult since it is unclear how each state would use the block grant funding.

"This estimate likely understates the reductions in insurance coverage that would actually occur under the Graham-Cassidy legislation, particularly toward the beginning and end of the seven-year period, because it does not account for the challenges states will face in setting up new programs on the bill's proposed timeline, the possibility that uncertainty about the program's future will cause market turmoil toward the end of the seven-year period, or the bill's Medicaid per capita cap and other non-expansion-related Medicaid provisions," the authors wrote.

The bill would also slow down the growth rate of the traditional Medicaid program while changing it from an open ended commitment to the states to a per person cap.

The official score of the bill from Congress's nonpartisan scorekeeper is expected next week, but it's only expected to detail if the bill meets certain budgetary requirements.

The Congressional Budget Office said that estimates on potential coverage losses will not be ready for several weeks, meaning the Senate could vote on the bill without that information.

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