Study: $200B not enough to cover lost Medicaid coverage under GOP bill

Adding $200 billion to Senate Republicans' ACA replacement plan is not enough to offset the cost of financial aid for those who would lose Medicaid coverage under the bill, according to a report from the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center.

Republicans discussed adding a $200 billion "wraparound" fund to the Better Care Reconciliation Act to provide assistance on premiums and other cost-sharing requirements for people who would lose Medicaid coverage under the bill and enroll in plans on the exchanges.

Federal funding for Medicaid expansion would end under the BCRA in 2022, and the Urban Institute estimates without the added $200 billion "very few" people would enroll in private plans on the exchanges. However, if everyone currently insured under Medicaid expansion were to move to the exchanges, it would cost the federal government $76.1 billion to provide benefits in 2022 alone, according to the report. Here is a breakdown of those costs:

  • Increase in premium tax credits for new exchange enrollees — $17.4 billion
  • Government assistance for premiums for new enrollees — $6.1 billion
  • Government assistance for cost-sharing requirements — $33.6 billion
  • Increase in claims costs due to greater utilization — $19 billion

This means the wraparound fund "would cover little more than two full years of these additional aggregate costs," according to the report.

The BCRA, combined with two amendments, was struck down Tuesday evening in the Senate.

 

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