The Better Care Reconciliation Act would result in 22 million more people uninsured in 2026 and cut $772 billion in federal spending from the Medicaid program from 2017-2026, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan federal agency that produces independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the congressional budget process.

"This latest CBO estimate only reinforces our deep concerns about the importance of maintaining coverage for those vulnerable patients who need it," said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack.

According to the CBO report, the Senate bill would mean that an estimated 15 million fewer Americans would have coverage next year, compared with the number if the Affordable Care Act remained in place. At the end of the decade, the 22 million increase in the ranks of the uninsured would include 15 million low-income Americans who would otherwise be on Medicaid and 7 million with private insurance. That total is about a million less than the 2026 impact of the House plan.

In a related matter, Senate leaders yesterday released a new discussion draft that made several technical amendments to the BCRA, and included a new provision that would require consumers whose coverage lapses for 63 days or more to wait six months before enrolling in new coverage. The provision is intended to encourage individuals to enroll in and maintain coverage in place of the individual mandate.

The AHA is calling on hospital and health system leaders to contact their Senators and urge them to oppose the bill. The AHA’s message: Go back to the drawing board to develop legislation that continues to provide coverage to all Americans who currently are insured.

The AHA has created a special membership advocacy resource page for a summary of the BCRA, a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills and talking points, along with other resources.

Meanwhile, the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care yesterday launched a new ad campaign urging senators to vote “no” on the BCRA.