CBO says 23 million Americans to lose health insurance

An estimated 23 million people would lose health coverage by 2026 under Republican legislation aimed at repealing Obamacare, a nonpartisan congressional agency said on Wednesday in the first calculation of the new bill's potential impact.

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The House Republican healthcare bill passed earlier this month will leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance - the latest estimate from the US Congressional Budget Office, which released its findings on Wednesday (May 24) afternoon. 

The new number is down minimally from the estimated 24 million people who would lose health insurance by 2026, in the CBO's score of the previous House bill. 

Republicans have been facing harsh criticism since passing their health bill from Democrats, and in town halls across the country. 

The backlash is likely to escalate, as the CBO concluded the number of uninsured was only reduced by 1 million people, and that premiums will vary significantly. 

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The report is also saying that the bill would cut the federal deficit by US$119 billion (S$164.5 billion) between now and 2026. 

That calculation opens the door for Congress to pass the bill through a process called reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority instead of a full two-thirds of votes in the Senate. 

Republicans currently hold a 52-48 majority. 

Soon after the release of the new CBO score, the minority began voicing its opposition. 

"The report makes clear Trump Care would be a cancer on the American health care system," said US Senate democratic leader Chuck Schumer. 

A group of 13 Republican senators led by Mitch McConnell have said they would be rewriting their own version of the healthcare bill in the coming months. 

"I don't know how we get to 50 at the moment. But that's the goal," said the majority leader.