Millions Would Lose Coverage if Affordable Care Act is Repealed

A new report shows that 24 million more people would become uninsured by 2021 if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed following the 2016 election. The report, authored by researchers at the Urban Institute with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that 14.5 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage by 2021, 8.8 million fewer people would have marketplace or other nongroup insurance, and 700,000 fewer people would have insurance through their jobs. This would bring the total number of uninsured to 53.5 million people, an increase of 81 percent under current law.

In addition to looking at the number of people who would lose coverage if the law was repealed, the researchers also look at what it would mean for federal and state spending on health care. Between 2017 and 2026, following a potential repeal, federal health care spending would decrease by $927 billion; however, state spending would increase by $68.5 billion over the same period as more people receive uncompensated care.

"Repealing the ACA would first and foremost deprive 20 million people of their health insurance, thereby nearly doubling the size of the uninsured  population," said Kathy Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Repealing the law would transfer costs from the federal to state government, as fiscal obligations related to uncompensated care, primarily a state responsibility, would grow dramatically."

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