The Affordable Care Act is a great idea in principal, increasing the number of people with coverage and eliminating the abuses from insurance companies which had destroyed the individual market. So far it has been working out well as policy beyond the initial IT glitches. Republicans have repeatedly brought up horror stories, but each time they have turned out to be false when the details were examined (see here and here). Considering the complexity of the law it is certainly possible that some of the details might be improved upon. It also would not be surprising if the Affordable Care Act had aspects which might need changes considering the manner in which it was passed after the Democrats lost sixty votes in the Senate (in these days in which sixty votes are needed to pass anything of consequence over a Republican filibuster). Rather than passing the House bill, which I thought was better, or going to a Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two bills, it became necessary for the House to pass the Senate bill without any changes.
Republicans have been complaining a lot, but have not been very successful in suggesting improvements. Their overall health care proposals, on the rare times they bring one up, would increase out of pocket expenses for most Americans while increasing the number of uninsured. Republicans are now promoting a bill with some adjustments to the Affordable Care Act. Their plan is to change the definition of a full time employee from thirty to forty hours per week in order to reduce the impact of the requirement for companies with over fifty full time employees to provide insurance or pay a penalty.
The Congressional Budget Office came out with their analysis of this bill yesterday (pdf here). The result would be to 1) reduce the number of people receiving coverage thorough employers by one million people, 2) increase the number of people obtaining coverage through Medicaid, CHIP, or the exchanges by between 500,000 and one million, and 3) decrease the number of insured by up to 500,000. As a consequence of the costs from these changes, the deficit would be increased by $25. 4 billion between 2015 and 2019. The deficit would be increased by $73. 7 billion between 2015 and 2024.
The irony here is that after the Republicans have made a lot of noise about policy cancellations (ignoring the fact that most of those who had policies canceled wound up receiving better coverage at a lower cost) it has repeatedly been their plans which would lead to more people losing insurance coverage. Another irony is the name of this Republican plan: The Save American Workers Act. How are they saving workers by reducing the number who receive health care coverage?
Originally posted at Liberal Values