A report released this week says a proposed overhaul of health care in the U.S. would have a negative impact on Arizonans.
The U.S. House of Representatives postponed a vote on the health care bill Thursday. It’s unclear when the vote will occur.
The nonpartisan center says it pursues policies designed to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility. Its report says the House Republican Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill would increase total out-of-pocket health costs. Those costs — premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance — would go up by an average of $3,600 for HealthCare.gov marketplace consumers across the country, the report says.
But in Arizona, costs would increase by more, an average of $4,927, it says.
If passed, the bill as it stands would take full effect in 2020.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report also says that:
- The House bill’s tax credits — unlike the tax credits under the Affordable Care Act — would not adjust with the size of premiums. That means the actual amount that people pay would rise by much more, as tax credits would fall by an average of $3,660 per year.
In total, that means the average Arizonan with marketplace coverage would pay $4,006 more to cover the cost of their premiums under the House bill.
- The bill would increase out-of-pocket costs for Arizonans by an average of $921 per year.
The House bill also makes it more likely that insurers would offer only higher-deductible plans, while repealing cost-sharing subsidies that keep out-of-pocket costs lower for many low- and moderate-income Americans.
- Older Arizonans would face greater challenges. The House bill would allow insurers to charge older people much higher (pre-tax credit) premiums than under current law and would cut their tax credits the most compared to the ACA.
House Republicans have offered an amendment to their original bill that they’ve described as making up to $85 billion available for higher tax credits for older Americans.
But even if that entire sum is used for that purpose, it would still leave Arizonans paying thousands of dollars more than under the ACA, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says.
Assuming that an amended bill includes $85 billion in additional tax credits, cost increases would still be 87 percent as large in Arizona as under the original bill.
With that reserve in place, a 60-year-old making $22,000 a year would still end up paying premiums of $12,774, more than 10 times what they would pay under current law, according to the report.
A memo from Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry dated March 22 says that if the American Health Care Act is enacted as drafted, it would end Medicaid for 380,000 Arizonans, including 57,000 people in Pima County.
In Arizona, Medicaid is called the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). It is a government insurance program for low-income people.
Citing state analysis from March 15, Huckelberry’s memo says the pending legislation would cut $2.5 billion per year in federal funds received in the Arizona economy.
“Unfortunately, this appears to be a major step backward in providing reasonable healthcare and medical services,” he wrote.
The analysis says if the state wanted to continue paying for childless adults in Arizona to be covered by Medicaid, that would increase state costs by $478 million.
The state analysis was completed before additional amendments, including a reserve fund, were added to the legislation earlier this week.