Senate Obamacare fix would cut deficit, not reduce number with health insurance: CBO

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A bipartisan Senate bill that seeks to restore key federal payments to Obamacare insurers “would not substantially change” the number of Americans with health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The Alexander-Murray bill also would cut the federal deficit by $3.8 billion over the next decade, the CBO said in a report analyzing effects of the bill.

And it would result in “slightly lower premiums” that currently projected for many Obamacare plans, according to the CBO, a nonpartisan agency.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on the heels of the Oct. 12 decision by the Trump administration to terminate payments known as cost-sharing reduction reimbursements to Obamacare insurers.

The billions of dollars worth of payments compensate insurance plans for discounts that they must — by law — offer low-income Obamacare customers for their out-of-pocket health costs.

The CBO earlier projected that killing those payments would lead Obamacare plan premium prices to be 25 percent higher in 2020 than they would have been if the payments continued.

Prices for next year are estimated to be about 20 percent higher than they otherwise would have been because of President Donald Trump’s threats since early 2017 to end the CSR payments.

The CBO also had earlier estimated that ending the payments would actually increase the federal deficit by almost $200 billion over the next decade.

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