Jan 17, 2017

New Obamacare repeal estimate: 18M uninsured, huge rate hikes

The Congressional Budget Office, the official budget scorekeeper for Congress, just handed Democrats two powerful new arguments against Obamacare repeal. In a new estimate of what would happen right away, here's what the budget office said:

  • 18 million uninsured in the first year after passage of the repeal bill
  • Premiums would increase by 20 to 25 percent
  • Both would get worse two years later, after Medicaid expansion and Obamacare subsidies go away

Yes, but: This is an estimate of what would happen if Congress re-passed the "reconciliation bill" it passed last year — the one President Obama vetoed. It knocks out large chunks of Obamacare, but not all of it. And it doesn't include any elements of a replacement. This year, Republicans have promised to pass a replacement quickly, and some elements might be included in the repeal bill.

But still: It's a fresh look at what might happen if Republicans don't replace Obamacare right away, not after a two-year transition. And it's a strong warning about the impact if they get rid of the individual mandate, one of the most unpopular parts of Obamacare, without changing the part that requires health insurers to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions.

Democrats are already sounding the alarms about the report. Expect to hear more from them — and from insurers.

Go deeper

America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.