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CBO: 300,000 Americans Would Be Uninsured Under GOP Medicaid Bill

By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

May 11, 2012 -- The Congressional Budget Office reported that a bill that would allow governors to scale back their Medicaid rolls would save $2.8 billion between 2012 and 2016 and leave 300,000 Americans without health insurance in 2013.

The legislation (HR 1683) is scheduled to be marked up in a House subcommittee and would lift so-called maintenance of effort requirements for states at a time when they are struggling to balance their budgets. The requirements would be ended for both Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation said enacting the bill would reduce enrollment and spending for both Medicaid and CHIP and increase enrollment in and spending for health insurance plans offered through the health insurance exchanges that will be created as part of the health care overhaul law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).

The budget agency said the effects on the sources and extent of health coverage would vary from year to year. For example, in 2013, there would be a reduction in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment of about 400,000 people, two-thirds of them children. Of that group 300,000 would become uninsured and 100,000 would enroll in employment-based coverage, CBO said.

CBO estimated that CHIP enrollment would decline in 2016 by 1.7 million individuals and enrollment in exchanges and employment-based coverage would increase at the same time by 700,000. About 300,000 people more people would be uninsured in 2016 compared with current law, the report said.

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