The Congressional Budget Office’s score of the American Health Care Act is not great. Sure, it saves money, but you have 24 million Americans who could lose their health insurance because of it. That’s what the CBO says, anyway, and there are always questions about how they do things.
The AHCA is not full Obamacare repeal like we were promised. So, out of curiosity, which would the CBO score better? The full repeal or the AHCA?
Phil Klein at the Washington Examiner breaks it to the GOP: The full repeal would.
In 2015, CBO evaluated a straight full repeal of Obamacare, without any replacement, and it found that coverage would actually be slightly better than what it would be under the House Republican plan being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan. Whereas the Ryan plan would, according to the CBO, leave 51 million uninsured in 2025, two years ago, the CBO projected under a full repeal (without a replacement), 50 million would be uninsured. Now, it’s quite possible that the CBO would score full repeal differently now, given a different set of underlying assumptions. But it’s hard to see how the basic picture would change much.
Klein, who is something of an expert on Obamacare (you should really read his book, Overcoming Obamacare), goes on to discuss the main problem here: By keeping the basic regulatory structure of Obamacare in place, you keep costs up. That, coupled with reducing the financial assistance needed to purchase said expensive-as-hell insurance, means you would have fewer people purchasing the insurance.
Full repeal, meanwhile, obliterates that regulatory structure, bringing those higher costs down. Sure, you have fewer people buying insurance because it’s no longer a requirement, but more people could purchase on their own because it won’t be so expensive.
It seems like the GOP just flat out didn’t think this through. How could something like this have even been allowed out of the editing stages without someone asking this question? Insurance isn’t some abstract concept. It follows pretty simple economic rules.
But, here we are, stuck with a plan that isn’t good, and the GOP has no one to blame but themselves.