The Republican plan to replace Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million in 2018 and 24 million by 2026, according to estimates released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The highly anticipated report concluded that the GOP’s plan to phase out the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid would create $337 billion in federal budget savings over the next decade, but at the cost of nearly doubling the projected number of people who lack health insurance.
The White House, which has endorsed the healthcare plan put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan and dubbed the American Health Care Act, joined other Republican lawmakers in launching pre-emptive strikes against the CBO.
“If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week, noting that the agency miscalculated the number of people who would gain insurance under Obamacare in 2010.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney went so far as to say the CBO shouldn’t even bother estimating the impact of the American Health Care Act. “Sometimes we ask them to do stuff they’re not capable of doing, and estimating the impact of a bill of this size probably isn’t the best use of their time,” Mulvaney said on Sunday.
The CBO’s sole purpose is estimating the financial implications of federal legislation.
The CBO estimate released Monday exceeds the already-grim projections about the number of people who would lose insurance if the Republican bill becomes law. The Brookings Institution forecast that the proposal would cause 15 million people to be uninsured.
The GOP plan has come under fire from members of both political parties, with some Republicans saying it doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare, and Democrats saying it favors the wealthy at the expense of people who are poor and sick.
Ryan, who has long vowed to repeal Obamacare, has defended the projected losses in coverage by arguing that his plan would give Americans the choice to not purchase insurance by doing away with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
See the CBO’s full report on the plan below.