Revised Coverage, Spending Impacts of American Health Care Act Released

WHA urges Senators Johnson, Baldwin to protect Wisconsin

May 26, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its revised analysis of coverage and spending impacts under the U.S. House-passed version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The CBO projects that over 10 years, 23 million individuals will lose coverage, and Medicaid funding will be reduced by $834 billion. In 2018 alone, CBO projects 14 million individuals will lose health insurance coverage. The revised “score” largely tracks CBO’s previous projections from March, which estimated 24 million to lose coverage and $840 million in Medicaid reductions. 

“We remain concerned thousands of poorer, older and sicker Wisconsinites will be left behind and that Wisconsin continues to be penalized for not expanding Medicaid,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “We continue discussions with our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., urging them to work to stabilize the insurance market, provide affordable coverage for individuals on the exchange and provide fairness for non-expansion states like Wisconsin.”

With respect to exchange coverage, about 240,000 individuals in Wisconsin signed up for coverage through the insurance exchange in 2017. Of those, about 197,000 were able to access affordable coverage due to the Affordable Care Act’s income-based premium and/or cost-sharing assistance. Of particular concern to a state like Wisconsin, which has had heavy reliance on exchange subsidies, is the AHCA’s move from income-based assistance to age-based tax credits. 

“By all known estimates, the shift to age-based assistance will result in coverage loss in Wisconsin,” said Borgerding in a recent letter to Sens. Johnson and Baldwin. “That is why we were pleased to hear the Senate is keenly aware of this issue and intends to make necessary improvements to the AHCA.” 

WHA also remains concerned by the current instability in the exchange due to the pending lawsuit on the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions (CSRs). WHA continues to ask Congress and the Administration to make clear its intention to fund the CSRs.

With respect to Medicaid funding and in light of the CBO score, WHA continues to highlight the long-term funding inequity that is established and compounded under the AHCA. 

“Wisconsin took its own path by not expanding Medicaid the Washington way and should not now be punished for rejecting Obamacare in a bill that is meant to repeal Obamacare,” said Borgerding. “WHA urges Sens. Johnson and Baldwin to stand up for Wisconsin in the ongoing Senate deliberations.” 

This story originally appeared in the May 26, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter