KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Fourteen-million Americans would lose coverage next year under House Republican legislation remaking the nation's health care system, and that number would balloon to 24 million by 2026, Congress' budget analysts projected Monday.
The American Healthcare Act is also expected to save the federal government $337 billion dollars over the next decade.
“It’s not just money we are talking about, it’s lives and people are going to lose their lives,” Dr. Sharon Lee, a physician with Family Health Care said.
Dr. Lee has served the poor in Kansas City, Kansas for three decades. She spent time between regular office hours and Monday night’s free clinic looking at a Congressional Budget Office report on the potential impact of the Republicans new healthcare bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
At a healthcare listening session Monday President Donald Trump said the plan,"lowers cost, expands choice and ensures access for everyone.”
But the CBO says 14 million Americans would lose health insurance next year because of rising costs and the end of mandates. The report says older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare would be priced out.
“Their rates are going to go up 5-times and their tax credits are going down, they are being asked to pay exorbitant amounts for insurance, that’s no longer a choice,” Dr. Lee said.
Reno Elkins brought his family to the free clinic Monday. Without it he said he'd, “probably just be still sick or something. I don’t know you can’t go to the hospital because they charge.”
But with almost twice as many uninsured patients predicted in the next decade, Dr. Lee says she’s not sure clinics like hers, or emergency rooms will be able to handle them.
“Where are they gonna go, we are maxed out here, I can’t imagine what’s going to happen?” she said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price accused the CBO of not looking at Republican’s planned future changes to healthcare that aren’t part of this budget bill.
The CBO did say after an initial spike in premiums, they’d level off by 2020 and be ten percent lower than they are now by 2026.