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CBO: Number of New Uninsured in Revised GOP Healthcare Bill Goes from 24M to 23M

WASHINGTON -- With the first version of the American Health Care Act, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found it would leave 14 million more people without any health insurance in the next year while federal deficits would be reduced over the next decade by $337 billion.

By 2020, the number of uninsured would be expected to rise to 21 million people, and continue climbing to 24 million uninsured in 2026, the CBO found in March.

That version of the bill never saw a floor vote as Republican leaders saw the votes weren't there for passage. After some revisions -- but not waiting to receive the CBO score on the tweaked legislation -- the bill squeaked by the House and headed to the upper chamber.

But the Senate planned no action until the CBO score was delivered.

That was released today. It found that the federal deficit would be reduced by $119 billion over the next decade under the bill, with 14 million more people uninsured over the next year, 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026.

"In comparison with the estimates for the previous version of the act, under the House-passed act, the number of people with health insurance would, by CBO and [Joint Committee on Taxation]’s estimates, be slightly higher and average premiums for insurance purchased individually—that is, nongroup insurance—would be lower, in part because the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs," said the CBO summary. "In addition, the agencies expect that some people would use the tax credits authorized by the act to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks and that are not counted as insurance in this cost estimate."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) considered the report positive news. “Under Obamacare, premiums have more than doubled, and choices have dwindled to the point that many families have no options at all," Ryan said in a statement. "We are on a rescue mission to bring down the cost of coverage and make sure families have access to affordable care."

"This CBO report again confirms that the American Health Care Act achieves our mission: lowering premiums and lowering the deficit," he added. "It is another positive step toward keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the findings underscore the GOP belief that "coverage is meaningless if you can’t afford it."

“What hits Americans the hardest with Obamacare are the rising premiums... Obamacare’s rising premiums have eaten deep into the budgets of millions of Americans," McCarthy said. "The CBO reports yet again that our plan will keep a promise Obamacare broke — premiums will go down. Congress must act so that people across the country can pay less for healthcare coverage and finally get relief from a failing law.”