Study: Adding $200 billion to health bill not enough

Study: Adding $200 billion to health bill not enough
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A new study says adding $200 billion to the Senate ObamaCare replacement bill would not be enough to fund private coverage for people who would lose insurance because of a halted Medicaid expansion. 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma has been pitching undecided moderate Republican senators on a "Medicaid wraparound" that would provide funds to help people who were on Medicaid afford private coverage. 

There has been talk of shelling out as much as $200 billion in additional funds as part of that effort to help low-income people afford the premiums and deductibles for private coverage. 

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But a study from the Urban Institute found that even $200 billion would not be enough to cover the costs for private coverage for people losing Medicaid. 

Covering such costs as premiums and deductibles on private plans for people losing Medicaid would cost $76.1 billion in 2022, the study found.

It said $200 billion "would cover little more than two full years of these additional aggregate costs."

"In contrast, the loss of federal dollars devoted to Medicaid would be permanent, and it would increase over time," the authors write. 

The study notes that Medicaid cuts would start to deepen in 2025, when the growth rate for a new cap on Medicaid spending would lower. 

If there was no additional funding at all, "very few" current Medicaid expansion enrollees would enroll in private coverage, the study finds, because of premiums and deductibles they would find unaffordable. 

Likewise, the Congressional Budget Office found that the deductible for a benchmark private plan under the bill would be $13,000, making coverage unaffordable for many low-income people.