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The Congressional Budget Office Might Sink Republican Healthcare Plan

— March 15, 2017

A report from the Congressional Budget Office could leave the Republican healthcare plan dead in the water.

The non-partisan committee’s findings have given much-needed ammunition to Democratic leaders in the House, as well as their moderate conservative allies. According to the CBO, a proposed plan sponsored by the GOP would leave tens of millions of Americans without healthcare within a decade.

26 million is the exact number given by the Office, which also explored how some vulnerable citizens would be disproportionately affected. Last week, LegalReader explored the effects the replacement act would have on seniors and the elderly. Middle-aged and near-retirement adults too young to qualify for Medicare could possibly see their premiums skyrocket. The only people who would be liable to get much financial relief would be young workers, who would pay less for insurance but lose out on comprehensive coverage.

The Republican plan would replace subsidies for low-income earners with tax credits determined by age. The most benefits would go to older Americans. However, liberal representatives argue that the credits would be a big step back.

CNN pointed out an irony that President Trump and Paul Ryan would both hate to admit – that their plan, which was poorly conceived and rushed by Republican legislators, would devastate their core constituencies. Older Americans and rural Americans alike would be the hardest hit by premium bumps. Healthcare costs are usually highest for people living far away from big cities and well-equipped hospitals.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders didn’t mince words in his appraisal of the proposal.

Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, has long been an advocate of healthcare reform in the United States; image courtesy of Jim Young, Reuters

“If this legislation is passed, and millions of people are thrown off health insurance, not able to get to a doctor when they must, thousands of Americans will die,” Sanders said at a press conference.

Staring grimly into a camera and speaking with an unhindered harshness, he continued to say, “That’s what this legislation is about and it must be defeated. And I hope there is enough sense among some of the Republicans to vote against it.”

The Vermont senator had honed in a raw spot that Republicans in Congress have just started to consider.

Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said on Tuesday that she wouldn’t be able to sign her name onto the plan in its current form. Writing on social media, she Tweeted, “I plan to vote NO on the current #AHCA bill. As written the plan leaves too many from my #SoFla district uninsured.”

Conservatives were also split on matters such as Medicaid roll-backs. Others, like Representative Leonard Lance of New Jersey, didn’t want to stake their reputations on what’s shaping up to be a failed endeavor.

“I do not want to vote on a bill that has no chance of passing over in the Senate,” Lance said. “The CBO score has modified the dynamics.”


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