The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report on the likely effects of a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately but keep some elements of the coverage expansion in place for two years.
The numbers are staggering and suggest the GOP will find it difficult to keep its promise of an “orderly transition,” unless they deviate significantly from a prototype repeal bill they passed last year.
Within the first year, the CBO predicts, 18 million people would lose insurance. In addition, premiums for people buying coverage on their own would increase, on average, by 20 to 25 percent relative to what they would be if the Affordable Care Act remained in place.
And that’s just the short-term effects that a “repeal-and-delay” strategy would have. Once Obamacare’s tax credits and Medicaid expansion expired fully, the CBO says, millions more could lose insurance and premiums would rise yet again.
Ultimately, the CBO concludes, 32 million more people would be uninsured and premiums would be twice as high ― again, relative to what they would be if Obamacare stayed on the books.
It’s a worst-case scenario that assumes Republicans can’t stabilize insurance markets during the transition. The CBO’s estimate also doesn’t consider the possibility that Republicans would replace President Barack Obama’s health care law with something else.