Washington: The Republican proposal to overhaul health care in the US could cause as many as 24 million people to lose their coverage over the next nine years, the Congressional Budget Office said. The study released on Monday was highly anticipated given that the CBO independently evaluates the effects of congressional bills, on both the political and economic levels, Efe news reported.
Nevertheless, the proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act achieves one of the key objectives of Republican lawmakers, reducing the federal deficit by $337 billion over 10 years, according to the report. The US deficit in 2016 amounted to $587 billion.
"The reductions in insurance coverage between 2018 and 2026 would stem in large part from changes in Medicaid enrolment - because some states would discontinue their expansion of eligibility, some states that would have expanded eligibility in the future would choose not to do so, and per-enrollee spending in the program would be capped," the report said.
"In 2026, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law," it added. The report's findings constitute a blow to the Republican leadership, which has long sought to eliminate the current health care reform pushed by ex-President Barack Obama and replace it with this new plan.
The bills have already been approved by House committees and they are expected to pass to the full chamber in the coming days, but the major obstacles will come in the Senate, where the Republican majority is narrow and several conservative senators have expressed opposition to the new plan.