It is valuable to understand what would happen if AHCA in fact became law, and what could be done to improve it or a new reform proposal. The best place to start is with the cost estimate of the plan produced by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Some have criticized CBO for this estimate, arguing that it is a fundamentally inaccurate assessment. While some of CBO’s assumptions are indeed questionable, there is little doubt that the agency’s bottom line assessment is basically correct: The bill, as currently structured, would trigger a rise in premiums in the short-run, a sharp increase in the number of people without insurance over the next two years, and then also a steady increase in the number of uninsured Americans over the following eight years. Instead of trying to discredit this finding, the authors of the legislation would be better off fixing the bill. CBO’s estimate provides a roadmap for what needs to be done to improve the chances the bill will produce the results its authors intend.
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