House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act,...
J. Scott Applewhite

The Republican health care plan is actually worse than nothing

It dawned on congressional Republicans quite a while ago that they couldn’t simply repeal the Affordable Care Act, roll back the clock as if “Obamacare” never existed, and walk away. GOP policymakers conceded they’d have to “repeal and replace” the health care law with their own policy blueprint.

That, of course, has become a fiasco of historic proportions. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that highlighted the profound impact the Republican bill would have on the American system: the ranks of the uninsured would grow by 14 million by next year, and that number would expand to 24 million by 2026.

And as dreadful as those results sound, the New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz’s highlighted an even more striking detail yesterday:
The Republican bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if Obamacare were simply repealed. Getting rid of the major coverage provisions and regulations of Obamacare would cost 23 million Americans their health insurance, according to another recent C.B.O. report.

In other words, one million more Americans would have health insurance with a clean repeal than with the Republican replacement plan, according to C.B.O. estimates.
Let that sink for a moment. If Republicans simply took a sledge hammer to the ACA, 23 million Americans would lose their health coverage. If Republicans pass their own legislation, 24 million Americans would lose their health coverage.

This is not, alas, the only piece of bad news surrounding the GOP legislation. A new Brookings report, released this morning, shows that the changes Republican leaders made on Monday night will not improve the uninsured crisis the bill is likely to create, while the Kaiser Family Foundation published new findings on the increased deductibles U.S. consumers could expect to pay if the Republican plan becomes law.

As for whether this thing might pass, if 22 House Republicans break ranks tomorrow – assuming there is a vote tomorrow – the GOP bill will die. Various head-counts offer a variety of estimates, but NBC News puts the number of likely Republican “no” votes at 27.

Watch this space.

Health Care

The Republican health care plan is actually worse than nothing