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Repealing Health Reform Law Would Leave 72M Uninsured, Report Finds

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would result in about 72 million U.S. residents being uninsured in 2022, compared with about 27 million uninsured individuals under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released Monday by the Commonwealth Fund, Modern Healthcare reports.

About the Report

The report -- titled "Health Care in the 2012 Presidential Election: How the Obama and Romney Plans Stack Up" -- examined how the candidates' health care policies would affect each state.

The study relies on an analysis by Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former consultant for the Obama administration. Gruber compared the effects of the ACA with Romney's proposals to repeal the law and replace it with Medicaid block grants and incentives to purchase coverage.

Report Findings

The report estimated that the ACA will reduce the uninsured rate from 15% to 10% in 13 Southern and Western states, as well as New York and the District of Columbia. The ACA is projected to lower the uninsured rate to less than 10% in the remaining states, according to the report.

Under Romney's plan, more than 30% of U.S. residents under age 65 in nine states -- Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas -- would be uninsured by 2022, the report estimated. Overall, the number of uninsured residents would increase in every state, the report added (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 10/2).

Report Limitations

According to CQ HealthBeat, the report is limited by a lack of details on Romney's plans. The study operates under the belief that Romney would be able to repeal the ACA, provide Medicaid block grants and enact tax benefits for self-insured residents.

It also assumes that federal health funding would grow at the rate of population growth plus 1% annually; states would match federal Medicaid funding with their state shares and compensate for lower funding in ways that would evenly split reduced eligibility with provider payment cuts or reduced benefits (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 10/2).

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