Photographer: Bryce Duffy/Getty Images

Obamacare Repeal Would Leave 32 Million Uninsured, Report Finds

  • Congressional Budget Office didn’t weigh unwritten replacement
  • New numbers add pressure on Republicans sworn to undo the law

Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums by 2026, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report that will add pressure on Republicans’ contentious efforts to end the law.

About 18 million would be uninsured and premiums would rise as much as 25 percent in the first year alone, according to the agency, which evaluates the financial implications of policy for lawmakers.

The numbers published Tuesday are extrapolated from a vetoed 2015 bill that would have repealed much of Obamacare. The measure would have eliminated the Medicaid coverage expansion and subsidies to help citizens purchase policies, but would have kept popular pieces such as guaranteeing coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions. The report didn’t consider the costs and benefits of a Republican replacement plan, because none has been written.

Republican lawmakers for years have promised to end the 2010 law, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care achievement, but haven’t settled on measures to replace it. Over the weekend, supporters of the law rallied around the nation, in one case driving a Republican congressman from a constituent meeting near Denver.

Under Obamacare, the uninsured rate fell to 8.9 percent in the first half of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2010 after 20 million people gained coverage. With three days to go until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, the report offers a look at a possible post-repeal landscape. Trump has expressed support for "essentially simultaneously" repealing and replacing Obamacare, and said his own plan is almost complete. But House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that passing a new law would be a "thoughtful, step-by-step process."

The CBO report shows what could happen between those two steps.

"Republicans need to wake up to the brutal impact that repealing the ACA will have on the lives of their constituents," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Republicans will have to decide whether they are really willing to hurt tens of millions of Americans just to satisfy their blind ideological obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act."

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, dismissed the report as "meaningless" because it doesn’t factor in a replacement plan.

The House started the repeal process Friday with a 227-198 vote to adopt a filibuster-proof budget resolution that will allow the 52-48 Republican Senate majority to advance a repeal bill with a simple majority.

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