CBO Says Bipartisan Health Care Bill Would Cut Deficit by $4B Over 10 Years

WASHINGTON (CN) – A bipartisan health care agreement that would keep funding insurance subsidies and make other minor changes to the federal health care law would reduce the deficit by $3.8 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The agreement, struck by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., would fund the cost sharing subsidies included in the Affordable Care Act until 2019, while also giving states more room to receive waivers on certain provisions in the law. Now with 24 co-sponsors, the agreement has earned significant bipartisan support in the Senate.

The report released by the nonpartisan CBO on Wednesday found the legislation would not “substantially” change how many people have health insurance, though it would lower the cost of premiums when compared to the administration’s announced intention to end the payments.

A previous analysis by the agency found premiums would go up by 20 percent without the subsidies, leading to a $194 billion increase in the debt over ten years.

The White House has not yet indicated whether it supports the legislation, making the proposal’s prospects in Congress unclear.

“Last week, an unusually large group of cosponsors – 12 Republican and 12 Democratic United States senators – released this legislation, which was based on four hearings in the Senate’s health committee plus four meetings for senators not on the committee,” Alexander and Murray said in a joint statement on Wednesday. “All in all, 60 senators participated in the process and the sooner Congress and the president act, the better.”

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