CBO Estimates 32 Million to Lose Coverage in Obamacare Repeal

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 20, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office, working with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, estimates that repealing the Affordable Care Act will result in 32 million people losing their insurance coverage, according to a recently released report. It said that a repeal would immediately lead to a 17 million increase in the number of uninsured, rising to 27 million in 2020, and then to 32 million by 2026. 

They also estimated that average premiums in the nongroup market (for individual policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers) would increase by roughly 25 percent—relative to projections under current law—in 2018. The increase would reach about 50 percent in 2020, and premiums would about double by 2026.

The agencies' figures also predict that the legislation would reduce federal deficits
by $473 billion over the 2017-2026 period; that change would result from a $1,429 billion reduction in outlays partially offset by a $956 billion decrease in revenues. 

The government agencies based their estimate on the changes the legislation could bring to the pricing of nongroup insurance, the eligibility for and the amount of subsidies to purchase insurance, the willingness of insurers to participate in the nongrup market, and eligibility and available funding for Medicaid. This, in turn, would affect how individuals and businesses would react to price changes. To track all this, the agencies made a simulation model incorporating a wide range of information about a representative sample of individuals and families, including income, employment, health status and insurance coverage. The model also incorporated information from research literature about the responsiveness of individuals and employers to price changes, and the responsiveness of individuals to changes in eligibility for public coverage. Using this model in combination with other models to project tax revenues, models of spending and actions by states, projection of trends in early retirees' health insurance coverage and other information, the agencies arrived at their estimates. 

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