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New Estimate Reveals Less Savings, More Uninsured if ACA Individual Mandate is Repealed

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) released a report titled Repealing the Individual Health Insurance Mandate: An Updated Estimate, which now projects $338 billion in savings over 10 years if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate starting in 2019. At the end of 2016, the CBO estimated that repeal of the individual mandate would result in a higher savings of $416 billion.

The CBO and JCT report predicts that enacting repeal legislation would reduce federal budget deficits by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period and increase the number of uninsured people by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027. The report also states that non-group insurance markets would continue to be stable in almost all areas of the country throughout the coming decade, and that average premiums in the non-group market would increase by about 10% in most years of the decade (with no changes in the ages of people purchasing insurance accounted for) relative to CBO’s baseline projections. Those effects would occur mainly because healthier people would be less likely to obtain insurance, and because especially in the non-group market, the resulting increases in premiums would cause more people to refrain from purchasing insurance. The estimate, which the CBO says is not based on specific legislative language, may be read here.

The new report comes after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) requested an updated score as House Republicans debated whether to include the mandate repeal in their tax package. Yesterday, however, neither the House or Senate tax bill included individual mandate repeal. We will keep you updated.