Washington, D.C., —Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its updated assessment of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) – estimating the number of Americans who would likely lose health insurance as compared to current law, as well as the possible cost changes for those who maintain coverage.
The CBO projects that under the House-approved legislation the number of uninsured will increase by 14 million next year, 19 million in 2020 and, 23 million by 2026. Low and moderate income seniors between the ages of 50-65 will experience significant premium increases due to changes in age rating. Millions of lower income Americans will be stripped of their Medicaid coverage.
A statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen follows:
“Today’s updated CBO analysis confirms the American Health Care Act is a step back for millions of Americans who would likely lose their health care coverage if this legislation were to become law in its current form.
“Cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease, many of whom are older Americans, would be unable to access necessary health care including cancer screenings, treatments and follow-up care under this bill. Underwriting for pre-existing health conditions, expanded age rating and the option for states to waive essential health benefits all threaten to return patients to a system where they would be unable to get health coverage and what coverage they might find could have annual and lifetime limits and still be prohibitively expensive.
“In a recent response letter to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee American Cancer Society and ACS CAN CEO Gary Reedy, expressed the aforementioned concerns and urged thoughtful action in considering any changes to current law.
“Specifically, ACS CAN is urging the Senate to preserve critical patient protections in current law, including prohibiting medical underwriting, banning annual and lifetime caps on coverage, and guaranteeing access to essential health benefits regardless of where you live.
“In addition, health coverage needs to be affordable both in premium and in total out-of-pocket costs. The income-based premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions, and the Medicaid expansion work together to maximize the number of people who can obtain health coverage. A flat credit along with Medicaid cuts would significantly affect the ability of millions of patients to afford and access health insurance.
“While the current law needs improvement, its greatest achievement has been enabling most patients with pre-existing conditions, including cancer patients and 15 million cancer survivors, to buy insurance that covers their necessary care. The Senate should build on that base.
“ACS CAN stands ready to work with the Senate to develop policies that encourage a strong health insurance market that provides affordable and comprehensive coverage options for those with serious illnesses like cancer.”