Let’s review the three topline numbers to the CBO estimate of Senate Republicans’ health-care bill.
That’s how many fewer people would be insured under Senate Republicans’ health-care plan over the next decade than would be insured by Obamacare .
What this means: This number is not significantly less than the House Republicans’ bill (which was estimated to leave 23 million fewer people insured). And that’s a problem. An estimate in this range turned off a number House Republicans, who said they couldn’t vote for a bill that could cause more people to lose their insurance than gained it under Obamacare (about 20 million).
Under the Senate’s bill, by 2026, an estimated 49 million people would not have insurance; almost twice as much as under Obamacare.
Some of those people would willingly lose their insurance because they would no longer be required by law to have health insurance. Others, though, would unwillingly lose their insurance because they wouldn’t be able to afford it, as the federal government cuts down subsidies for lower-income and elderly Americans and people on Medicaid over the next few years.
Which brings us to our next number:
That’s the CBO’s estimate of how much insurance premiums would rise for elderly, low-income people over the next decade under Senate Republicans’ version. In a report filled with brutal numbers for Republicans, this may be the most brutal.
Republicans said their bill will make health insurance cheaper. Except, under Obamacare, 64-year-olds making $26,500 a year are on track to pay $1,700 in annual premiums in 2026. And under the Senate GOP bill, they would pay $6,500.
What this means: The Senate bill keeps Obamacare protections for preexisting conditions. But it does cut federal subsidies that older, lower-income Americans use to purchase health insurance through the online Obamacare marketplaces, which will force them to pay more for deductibles and premiums. Under this bill, insurance companies can charge older Americans much as five times as a 21-year-old, compared to three times as much under Obamacare.
That’s how much Senate Republicans’ bill will reduce the deficit over the next decade.
This is good news for Senate Republicans, because they just cleared an important procedural hurdle. Senate Republicans’ bill had to reduce the deficit by at least $133 billion in order to allow them to vote on the bill via a budgetary rule that allows them to avoid a Senate Democratic filibuster.
What this means: Watch for why the deficit goes down. The CBO says the government mostly saves money by cutting some $772 billion in federal help for states to pay for Medicaid. Still, this is a selling point for conservative Senate Republicans, who can say they are getting government out of health care and saving money while doing it.
Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Washington Post’s Fix