Senate Republican’s health care bill would leave 22 million uninsured: audit

WASHINGTON, DC — The Senate health care bill would result in 22 million more uninsured Americans over the next decade compared to current law.

That’s according to an analysis Monday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The figure may further complicate Senate GOP leaders’ plans to pass their bill this week. It’s barely an improvement upon the health care bill that passed the House — which would have resulted in 23 million more uninsured.

Several GOP senators have said they want to see their bill cover more people than the House version. And President Donald Trump himself called the House bill “mean” — though he’s lent his support to the Senate version and is lobbying for passage.

The nation’s largest doctors’ group is opposed to the bill. The American Medical Association sent a letter Monday to Senate leaders saying the draft legislation violates the medical oath to “first, do no harm.”

The letter says the Republican plan is likely to lead to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care for low- and middle-income patients.

The doctors’ group says the Senate bill’s Medicaid payment formulas threaten to “limit states’ ability to address the health care needs of their most vulnerable citizens” and won’t keep up with new medical innovations and epidemics such as the opioid addiction crisis.

Not everyone is against the bill. One of the nation’s biggest health insurers says the Senate health care bill will “markedly improve” the individual insurance market’s stability and moderate premium hikes.

Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem says the bill will help in part by appropriating money for cost-sharing reduction payments and eliminating a health insurance tax.

Cost-sharing reduction payments help cover expenses like deductibles for people with modest incomes. President Trump has discussed ending these payments, and insurers planning to return to the exchanges next year want a guarantee that the payments also will return.

Anthem Inc. sells coverage in key markets like New York and California. It has said tough market conditions have forced it to pull out of exchanges in three states for 2018: Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana.