Twenty-two million Americans would lose insurance over the next decade under the Senate Republican health care bill if the legislation were to become law, the Congressional Budget Office projected on released on Monday.
The forecast finds that the Senate Republicans did just a hair better than their House counterparts—whose Obamacare repeal bill the CBO estimated would result in 23 million losing insurance. But according to the CBO, the Senate GOP bill would still push the number of uninsured up to 49 million in 2026 versus about 28 million under the current law.
Of the 22 million without coverage by 2026, 15 million would be without it by next year, the budget office said. This assessment makes it more difficult for the already-fraught legislation to win support for speedy passage this week before senators head home for the July Fourth recess.
Republicans hold a 52-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate and Democrats are firmly united in opposition. McConnell can only lose just two GOP senators, relying on Vice President Mike Pence to break a potential tie. However, shortly after releasing the draft, 4 Republicans already said ‘NO’ to the bill.
“If you are on the fence … this CBO score didn’t help you, so I think it’s going to be harder to get to 50, not easier,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said of the bill’s prospects.
On brink of defeat
In the flip side, however, the budget office says the bill does reduce the federal spending by $321 billion between 2017 and 2026. This is $202 billion more than the projected $119 billion in savings under the House bill. The largest savings would come from Medicaid cuts, with spending on it dropping by more than a quarter in 2026.
According to ABC, Senate leaders could use some of these savings “to attract moderate support by making Medicaid and other provisions in their measure more generous, though conservatives would prefer using that money to reduce federal deficits.”
The White House slammed the nonpartisan budget office’s assessment in a statement, saying it has a “history of inaccuracy” in projecting coverage. However, Democrats said it has confirmed their own analysis of the Senate GOP bill.
“This bill is every bit as mean as the House bill,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
So far, Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have already opposed the passage of the bill, with Johnson and Heller suggesting it will be challenging to persuade them to vote in favor of it. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on the other hand, had been waiting for the CBO score before deciding about her position.