Study: Uninsured rate could rise above pre-ObamaCare levels under repeal

Study: Uninsured rate could rise above pre-ObamaCare levels under repeal
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Repealing the Affordable Care Act would drive the nation’s uninsured population to levels even higher than before the law went into effect, according to an Urban Institute study released Wednesday. 

The number of uninsured people would more than double, increasing by 29.8 million people by the end of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE’s first term, with the biggest impact hitting lower-income families, the nonpartisan analysis found.  

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The 50-page study, written by several leading healthcare researchers, offers the most comprehensive projections yet on a post-ObamaCare landscape in the wake of Trump’s election.

The research is based on the GOP’s repeal bill from 2015, which would strike down the law’s mandates, subsidies and Medicaid expansion but leave in place some non-budget related provisions.

It does not predict how Republicans would replace the law, citing a lack of “consensus” on alternative plans. Instead, it underscores the potentially damaging effects of the GOP’s repeal plan without a replace.

The effects of repeal would be swift and immediate, leading to a “near death spiral” of the individual marketplace.

Federal spending on healthcare would be cut by $1 trillion over a decade, putting states and local health officials on the hook for another $1.1 trillion in uncompensated care over that time. 

“This scenario does not just move the country back to the situation before the ACA. It moves the country to a situation with higher uninsurance rates than was the case before the ACA’s reforms,” the report states. 

The vast majority of those affected would be in lower-income working families, and about 80 percent of people would have a high school degree or less. About 56 percent of people who would lose coverage would be non-Hispanic whites.

The repeal would also burden hospitals and other providers that previously received government help to pay for what is known as “uncompensated care.” 

“The increase in services sought by the uninsured is unlikely to be fully financed, leading to even greater financial burdens on the uninsured and higher levels of unmet need for health care services,” the report warns.

The partial repeal bill — which President Obama vetoed in 2015 — would keep in place insurance protections such as essential health benefits and a ban on preexisting condition exclusions.

The Urban Institute published its research one day after two key studies outlined consequences of a repeal.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation released late Tuesday found that as many as 11 million people who became eligible for Medicaid under ObamaCare could lose coverage.

That number could increase with more states, such as Louisiana and Montana, planning to expand Medicaid.

The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals also released a damning new report on Tuesday warning about the massive financial impact of a repeal bill.

The 41-page report, which was conducted by the firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, showed the hospital industry would lose $165.8 billion through cuts to Medicaid alone.