Republican bill could leave 22 million more people without health insurance in US

A number of Republican senators have raised concerns about their party's controversial proposals

Republican bill could leave 22 million more people without health insurance in US

NYC healthcare activists and allies organized a round-the-clock and overnight protest in advance of Possible U.S. Senate 'TrumpCare' debate and vote. Picture by: Erik McGregor/SIPA USA/PA Images

There could be 22 million more people without health insurance by 2026 in the US under new healthcare proposals, a non-partisan analysis has found.

The estimate comes after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysed Republican senators' draft 'Better Care Reconciliation Act', which was finally revealed last week.

The previous House version of the bill to replace Obamacare would have left 23 million more Americans uninsured.

The latest version of the controversial bill includes a number of radical changes to Obama's signature healthcare legislation - including a curtailing of the expansion of the Medicaid social health care programme, and tax cuts that would primarily benefit high-earners.

In their analysis of the draft legislation, the CBO explains: "In 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured under this legislation than under current law - primarily because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 22 million in 2026.

"In later years, other changes in the legislation - lower spending on Medicaid and substantially smaller average subsidies for coverage in the nongroup market - would also lead to increases in the number of people without health insurance."

Like their House of Representative colleagues - who only narrowly passed their bill after weeks of tense negotiations - Republican leaders in the Senate will face significant challenges passing the new legislation.

With only a four-seat majority over the Democrats and independents in the upper house, the Republicans can only afford to lose a handful of votes if they want to pass the legislation.

Five senators have so far indicated they will not support the bill in its current form.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada argued: "I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans."

Liberal and left-wing activists are also heavily opposing the bill, ahead of a vote which Republican leaders hope will take place before Congress breaks for a 4th of July recess later this week.

The American Medical Association has also voiced its concerns over the bill, arguing: "We believe that Congress should be working to increase the number of Americans with access to quality, affordable health insurance instead of pursuing policies that have the opposite effect."