JONATHAN COHN JANUARY 6, 2011
A few days ago I asked whether the Republicans would wait for a Congressional Budget Office score before voting on their proposal to repeal health care reform. To their credit, they have. And the news from the CBO is exactly what you would have thought: Getting rid of the Affordable Care Act will mean higher deficits. The CBO is projecting that repeal would increase the federal deficit by around $230 billion in the next decade and by an even larger amount after that.
Wait, there's more. The CBO also estimated how repeal would affect insurance premiums. And, once again, the effect is entirely predictable. Premiums for people buying coverage on their own would fall a bit, but only because people were getting less protective insurance and because many with pre-existing conditions would be locked out of the market altogether. And even though premiums would be lower, many people buying coverage on their own would still end up paying more for their policies, because they would not benefit from the enormous subsidies that the Affordable Care Act makes available.
Speaking of people locked out of the insurance market, the CBO ran the numbers on the uninsured. An additional 32 million people would be expected to go without health insurance, bringing the percentage of non-elderly adults without coverage to 17 percent, which is more or less what it is today.
So there you have it: According to one of our most reliable and nonpartisan authorities, repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean higher deficits plus insurance that is less comprehensive, less available, and in many cases more expensive.