Trumpcare Would Cut Coverage to 21 Million, Cost up to $500 Billion, Study Says
Policy + Politics

Trumpcare Would Cut Coverage to 21 Million, Cost up to $500 Billion, Study Says

Rick Wilking

Donald Trump claims his plan to replace Obamacare will erase “the lines around the states” so that people don’t “die in the streets” for lack of insurance. But a new analysis finds that his initiative could cause around 21 million people to lose coverage while costing as much as $500 billion more over 10 years.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), issued a report Monday about the impact of the seven-point “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again” plan that Trump released earlier this month, which called for the full repeal of Obamacare.

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Citing previous estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the CRFB report says that repealing Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured Americans in 2018 by 22 million. Trump’s replacement plan, the report says, would only cover about 5 percent of those people, leaving 21 million more Americans without insurance.

On top of that, Trump’s plan would cost at least $270 billion more than staying with the existing law because it eliminates tax increases and other federal aid that has boosted coverage in 30 states thus far, according to the CFRB analysis. That price tag swells to as much as $490 billion under so-called “conventional scoring,” which doesn’t assume the plan would generate faster economic growth.

“Mr. Trump’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — based on the details available — would both add to the deficit and significantly reduce coverage,” the report states.

Some of the Republican frontrunner’s ideas would generate savings, like a $20 billion cost reduction from allowing Americans to import prescription drugs from across the border, but that’s a drop in the bucket when compared to the overall spending associated with Trump’s plan.

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The independent assessment also notes that it’s difficult to assess the impact of other elements of Trump’s proposal, like his call to convert Medicaid to block grants to the states, because so few details are available.

“If Mr. Trump intends to generate aggressive savings from block granting Medicaid, it could more than pay for the cost of repealing and replacing Obamacare – though perhaps at the cost of a further reduction in coverage,” the report says.

In addition, CFRB’s estimates don’t account for Trump’s call to require insurance companies to offer coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions — a policy that isn’t listed on his campaign website.

“Doing so without penalties or subsidies to encourage individuals to purchase insurance, according to CBO, would actually further increase the number of uninsured individuals,” according to the new analysis.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.