It’s the homestretch for the rollback of Obamacare. If Republicans succeed, their threadbare replacement faces a tough road test.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act may come closer to completion this coming week as the Senate prepares to vote on a plan, drafted in such secrecy that most members didn’t even know its broad outlines until the past few days.
The cliff it risks driving people — and the economy — off makes the stealth understandable.
Like the House version, the Senate plan is unlikely to be a “health-care” plan so much as a big tax cut for the wealthy. That will be achieved in part by slashing Medicaid funding by $830 billion or even more. (The highest-income households would benefit by eliminating the Medicare surtax on wages and the tax on investments, as well as more generous tax savings on Health Savings Accounts and tax credits to pay for health-insurance premiums.)
The congressional moves and neglect by the Trump administration are already sabotaging Obamacare. Rates on health insurance in Washington’s individual market are estimated to rise an average 22 percent next year.
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the House bill by 2026 would increase the number of uninsured by 23 million compared with sticking to Obamacare.
That CBO report says that in nine years “an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.”
Also, the new law is likely to make it prohibitively expensive for people with pre-existing conditions to afford health insurance in the individual private market, no matter the deceptions being peddled by members of the administration and Congress.
Obamacare provided health insurance for an estimated 20 million people, driving the ranks of the uninsured to a record low. According to a study by the Robert Wood…