- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published a blog post that may further complicate the implications of a GOP Affordable Care Act replacement plan.
- For its estimates, CBO said minimal insurance products that would "not provide enough financial protection against high medical costs to meet the broad definition of coverage" would not meet the office's past definition of "coverage."
- Republicans may be fighting an uphill battle in their plans, as they find themselves able to repeal the law but have to answer the questions how to cover the same or more Americans with health insurance.
It's a bit in the weeds, but the CBO's blog post is important as ACA repeal-and-replace drum calls get louder and Donald Trump's inauguration nears.
As the agency underlines, the definition of "health coverage" will be important as the GOP preps a replacement plan. As about 20 million Americans gained health coverage through the ACA marketplaces as a result of the legislation, Republicans, in order for a replacement plan to be viewed as successful, may have to be able to say it covers the same or more Americans as the ACA.
The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have in the past counted coverage as "a comprehensive major medical policy that, at a minimum, covers high-cost medical events and various services, including those provided by physicians and hospitals," the blog post authors noted.
With a couple of different plans already out there for a replacement for the ACA, the CBO stated policymakers were interested in what type of insurance products would qualify for tax credits when developing proposals.
One popular Republican idea is offering tax credits for health insurance. As the CBO notes, if there's no clear definition of what type of product such a credit could buy, "some of those insurance products would probably not provide enough financial protection against high medical costs" which would not meet it's historic idea of what "health coverage" is. CBO stated that it and JCT would not count individuals such limited benefits as covered.