May 25, 2017

The most important lines in the CBO report

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Data: Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

"Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy ... 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."

What it means: In the states that get waivers from the ACA's pricing and benefit rules, people with pre-existing conditions could be priced out of the market. Those states would cover about one sixth of the population.

"People living in states modifying the [essential health benefits] who used services or benefits no longer included in the EHBs would experience substantial increases in out-of-pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services."

What it means: CBO confirmed that premiums would go down in those states, which was one of the GOP's main goals — but the tradeoff is that people could pay more in other ways. Among the benefits that those states might eliminate: "maternity care, mental health and substance abuse benefits, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits."

"CBO and JCT estimate that a few million people would buy policies that would not cover major medical risks."

What it means: In the states with the waivers, some people might buy plans that don't cover a lot — but those plans would be so skimpy that CBO doesn't count them as health coverage.

Go deeper

Cigna's big divestiture on its life and disability insurance business

Photo: Julia Rendleman/Getty Images for Eventive Marketing

Cigna finally pulled the trigger on selling its life and disability insurance business, netting $5.3 billion after taxes from New York Life.

The big picture: Health insurers have been divesting products that have less to do with actual medical care and instead combining with companies that sell drug benefits

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

The health care debate we ought to be having

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Scott Eisen/Getty Images and Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans worry a lot about how to get and pay for good health care, but the 2020 presidential candidates are barely talking about what's at the root of these problems: Almost every incentive in the U.S. health care system is broken.

Why it matters: President Trump and most of the Democratic field are minimizing the hard conversations with voters about why health care eats up so much of each paycheck and what it would really take to change things.

Health policy in 2020 will be made in the states

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With legislation in Congress likely to be blocked by partisan division and interest group opposition, much of the real action in health care this year will be in the states.

The big picture: States don’t have the money or purchasing power the federal government does, but their decisions nevertheless affect millions of people, and they could signal the future of federal reform.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020