Two reports out this week about proposed changes to the federal health care law show it would result in hundreds of thousands of Coloradans losing health coverage, while costing the state of Colorado billions of dollars.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released its estimate of how the proposal being considered in Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act would impact the uninsured rate and federal spending. The CBO estimates that the proposal, the American Health Care Act, would result in 14 million more Americans being uninsured in 2018 than under current law. That number would increase to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. The CBO estimates that in 2026, 52 million people would be without health insurance compared to 28 million who would be uninsured under current law.
The CBO also estimates that there would be an $880 billion reduction in federal spending on Medicaid over the next 10 years, which would contribute to a $337 billion reduction in the federal deficit during that time. The reduction in federal Medicaid spending is due to proposed changes in the structure of Medicaid, including a cap on the entire Medicaid program and phasing out the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which according to the CBO would both cut the amount of federal spending for Medicaid that goes to states and increase the number of people who are uninsured.
The Colorado Health Institute released a report this week on the current proposal’s impact on Colorado, particularly for Colorado’s Medicaid program and state budget. CHI estimates that by 2030, 600,000 Coloradans would lose Medicaid eligibility under the proposal, and that most would become uninsured as a result. CHI also estimates that Colorado would lose $340 million in federal funding in 2020 when the proposed changes in Medicaid would go into effect and a total of $14 billion during the first 10 years of the proposed changes to Medicaid. By 2030, Colorado would lose a total of $6 billion in federal funding due to the proposal to cap the entire Medicaid program, even without taking into account the proposed phasing out of the Medicaid expansion.
If Congress moves forward with the current proposal, which would shift costs and risk to states, Colorado lawmakers would be left with troubling choices about eliminating access to health coverage and benefits for children and families and the state budget.