Several Senate Republicans said Monday that they would not back a procedural motion on legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare after a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found the bill would leave 22 million more people without insurance over the next decade, The Hill reports.
The findings cast serious doubt on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to get the measure through his chamber this week. McConnell can only afford to lose two votes, and four senators as of Monday night said they would not vote for a motion to proceed to the bill.
Senator Susan Collins wrote on Twitter after the release of the CBO report that she would vote no on the motion to advance the bill.
“CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened,” she wrote.
Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Dean Heller also indicated they would vote against the motion without changes. The three senators, along with Senators Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz, had previously announced they opposed the bill as drafted.
“It certainly makes me more concerned. It makes me want to explore this more”, Senator Bill Cassidy said of the analysis on CNN.
The CBO found that there would be 15 million more uninsured people just next year, largely because the bill revokes ObamaCare’s mandate that people buy insurance. The number of uninsured would then rise in later years as smaller subsidies to buy private insurance and Medicaid cuts kick in.
The CBO found that lower financial assistance in the Senate bill compared with ObamaCare would make premiums unaffordable for many low-income people, and deductibles would rise as well.
“As a result, despite being eligible for premium tax credits, few low-income people would purchase any plan,” the CBO report states.
There would be 15 million fewer people enrolled in Medicaid over a decade, the CBO found, as the legislation includes deep cuts to the program.
The bill also allows states to repeal ObamaCare’s requirements on what an insurance plan must cover, known as essential health benefits, and that move could make certain services extremely expensive.
In a bit of good news for Republicans, the bill would result in a $321 billion deficit reduction over 10 years, the CBO found.
As with the House healthcare bill, the CBO found that premiums would initially rise under the Senate bill, before falling on average over time. This is another important finding for the GOP, which has prioritized reducing premium costs.
The report estimates premiums will increase in 2018 by 20 percent and by 10 percent in 2019. In 2020, premiums would be about 30 percent lower than under ObamaCare and 20 percent lower by 2026.