Millions are going to have to forfeit coverage if Congress repeals the unpopular current mandate that Americans have to get health insurance.
The premise by Republicans in the Senate is to undo the coverage requirement under former President Obama's health care law which is that everyone should contribute to health care.
President Trump's administration idea is to write new regulations allowing for simpler plans with limited benefits and therefore lower premiums.
About 18 million people buying their own health insurance could look very different with in the next few years. Consumers would have new options with different pros and cons. They'd notice a shift away from health plans that cover a broad set of benefits.
Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Republican for Utah said that "the fines associated with Obamacare on all people who go without coverage is a terribly regressive tax that imposes harsh burdens on low and middle income taxpayers".
Senator Murray of Washington said "repealing the requirement will undermine insurance markets and raise costs, particularly for those who need care". She also accused Republicans of sneaking devastating health care changes into a partisan bill at the last minute.
The Congressional Budget Office believes that repeal of the insurance requirement would save the government $338 billion through 2027, mainly due to less people seeking subsidized coverage. That would give Republican lawmakers a hefty budget to offset some of the tax cuts they're proposing. The number of uninsured could rise to 13 million in 2027. Because fewer people would be paying into the insurance system, premiums for individual plans would rise close to 10%.
Republican economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin said "the predictions of dire consequences are overstated and that repealing the mandate would be more like a safety valve for a health insurance market that's pricing out solid middle class people not entitled to subsidies. In the individual market, this is all about getting premiums down so people will want to buy, as opposed to making them have to buy. He points to nearly 30 million Americans still uninsured. "We made it illegal to be uninsured, we're paying people to get insured, and we still have many uninsured. I don't think it's very effective."
A poll conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that 55% of Americans support getting rid of the mandate as part of the tax overhaul while 42% are against repealing it altogether.
If the Republicans succeed in repealing the mandate, lawmakers may soon be looking for alternative solutions to guarantee the future health of America!.