Obamacare Premium Hikes Worse Than Thought

Ryan says GOP on ‘rescue mission’ after report finds average health care bill doubled since 2013

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) brushed aside a Congressional Budget Office report predicting a reduction in the insurance rate if a GOP health bill becomes law, arguing Thursday that this week provided fresh evidence Obamacare is failing.

At a news conference, Ryan pointed to this week’s announcement by Blue Cross and Blue Shield that it is pulling out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 32 counties in Kansas and Missouri.

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Legal Weed Could Save Medicaid More Than $1 Billion

Medical marijuana legalization is causing patients to ditch their prescription pills for pot, a trend researchers say could save Medicaid more than $1 billion if legalization is implemented federally.

A recent study published in Health Affairs shows marijuana legalization is sparking a decline in prescription medications under Medicaid. The research, which analyzed Medicaid data in states with medical marijuana programs, found rates of prescriptions being filled under Medicaid for opioid painkillers dropped by 11 percent, and other addictive medications followed similar patterns, reports The Colorado Statesman.

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No, the Republican Healthcare Bill Would Not Cause 23 Million People to “Lose” Insurance

As Katie reported last evening, the latest Congressional Budget Office score of the House-passed American Health Care Act contains good news and bad news for the GOP. On the bright side, it appears that its central fiscal outcome complies with reconciliation rules, which would allow the process to move forward without a complicated tweak-and-do-over vote in the House. The nonpartisan scorekeeper also found that individual market premiums “would decline on average,” and would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion. On the other hand, media outlets are running with false headlines like these:

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Key Takeaways From CBO Score of the Republican Health Care Bill

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated their score of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) this week, prior to its being sent over to the Senate.

This budgetary analysis projects that if passed into law, the AHCA would reduce the number of insured by 23 million, but would decrease the deficit by $119 billion while also reducing federal outlays by $1.1 trillion and federal revenue by $992 billion.

While the score is roughly similar to the score from the original version of the AHCA released on March 23, several modifications to the law occurred since then and were not reflected in earlier estimates.

The new CBO score addresses the effect of allowing states to waive the Affordable Care Act essential health benefit and community rating requirements on premiums in particular.

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CBO’s 23 Million Uninsured Under GOP’ Not What It Seems

Democrats use report from agency with flawed record to slam health plan

Democrats and much of the mainstream news media Wednesday poured cold water on the the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act, citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office that the legislation to begin dismantling Obamacare would result in 23 million uninsured in the next 10 years.

“The CBO was wrong when they analyzed Obamacare’s effect on cost and coverage, and they are wrong again,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price countered in a statement.

“In reality, Americans are paying more for fewer health-care choices because of Obamacare, and that’s why the Trump administration is committed to reforming health care.”

House Republicans passed the bill three weeks ago without waiting for the CBO to release a score for the legislation. It replaced an earlier version of the AHCA that the CBO had said would result in 24 million being without insurance.

But the figures of those left without insurance, at least as widely reported, is misleading. It includes nine million already without coverage under Obamacare. The remaining 14 million are made up of those who could potentially lose coverage under the new bill, plus those who take advantage of the AHCA eliminating the mandate to purchase coverage. For the latter group, being allowed to remain uninsured is a positive option. The requirement to be covered under Obamacare or pay a penalty has been an unpopular feature of the present health law.

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CBO: Obamacare Repeal Will Cut Deficit By $119 Billion, Leave 23 Million More Uninsured

The CBO has finally scored the House-passed healthcare bill, H.R.1628 (which as a reminder remains DOA in the Senate), and finds modest improvement relative to its last scoring of the proposed Healthcare bill as of March 23. Here are the apples to apples comparisons with the last proposed version of the bill:

  • Under the House-passed Bill, the US budget deficit would be reduced by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026. This is $31 billion less than the proposed March bill, which would have lowered the deficit by $150 billion.
  • Offsetting the smaller benefit on the deficit, the CBO found that the number of Americans expected to lose their health coverage would rise to 23 million in 2026, which is 1 million fewer than the 24 million forecast in March, or roughly $31 billion in spending over 10 years to provide 1 million Americans with insurance over the same time period.
  • The CBO concludes that in 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law. Under the last CBO estimate, the number of Americans wihtout insurance in 2026 was 52 million of Americans under 65, so an improvement of 1 million as expected.

Below is the “bridge” of the budget deficit reduction from the CBO:

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Premiums Have Doubled Since Before Obamacare, Says HHS Report

Obamacare’s insurance regulations contributed to premiums doubling over the course of four years, finds a new federal report.

The findings, assembled by the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, show that since 2013, one year before the Obamacare regulations were fully implemented, premiums have risen from an average of $2,784 in 2013 to $5,712 in 2017 on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov. This represents an increase of $2,928, or 105 percent.

Premiums tripled in Alaska, Alabama and Oklahoma during the same time period, and the lowest premium increase, 12 percent, was in New Jersey.

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