One of the ways that the Trump administration and House Republican leaders won key conservative members’ votes for the American Health Care Act was by adding a provision that would allow states to waive Obamacare regulations limiting how much insurers can charge individuals with pre-existing conditions. Republicans insisted that a different provision in the bill—funding for “high-risk pools”—would ensure that no one with such a condition would lose coverage under their plan. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office review of the bill released Wednesday afternoon says otherwise. Here’s the money quote regarding what’s projected to happen in states that waive the Obamacare rules:
… as a consequence, the waivers in those states would have another effect: Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all—despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums. As a result, the nongroup markets in those states would become unstable for people with higher-than-average expected health care costs. That instability would cause some people who would have been insured in the nongroup market under current law to be uninsured.
The CBO projects that one-sixth of the U.S. population lives in states where the situation described above would play out.