GOP health plan to hit Chattanooga hard, could cost families thousands in subsidies

GOP health plan to hit Chattanooga hard, could cost families thousands in subsidies

March 20th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

FILE - In this March 9, 2017 file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans pushing a plan to dismantle Barack Obama's health care law are bracing for a Congressional Budget Office analysis widely expected to conclude that fewer Americans will have health coverage under the proposal, despite President Donald Trump's promise of "insurance for everybody." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Hardest hit cities from GOP health plan

Cities with the biggest reduction in subsidies for median-income family filing a joint tax return would be:

1. Yuma, Ariz., down $7,815

2. Anchorage, Alaska, down $7,748

3. Syracuse, N.Y., down $6,398

4. Reading, Penn., down $6,149

5. Chattanooga down $5,786

Source: WalletHub.

Chattanooga would be one of the hardest hit cities in America for the drop in financial help in buying health insurance under the Republican health care plan moving through the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a study released today.

WalletHub analysts estimate a median income family filing a joint tax return and buying individual health insurance on the exchange marketplace in Chattanooga would see a $5,786 reduction in premium support by the government under the GOP-backed American Health Care Act compared with the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

WalletHub said Chattanooga was the fifth hardest hit city among the 457 U.S. cities analyzed using data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For Chattanooga, the study said the median income family would receive a $5,000 tax subsidy under the GOP plan, which is less than half of the $10,786 subsidy such a family now gets under Obamacare.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the GOP plan would raise the average health-insurance premium for an individual policyholder by 15 to 20 percent just one or two years from now and lower federal subsidies. But by 2026, the CBO estimates that average premiums for single policyholders in the non-group market under the GOP reform plan would be about 10 percent lower than the estimates for the cost of Obamacare.

Among mid-sized cities, Chattanooga ranked the third highest in the subsidy gap from the new GOP plan, behind only Anchorage, Alaska and Syracuse, N.Y.

The cities that would benefit the most are affluent communities, since they would get slightly higher subsidies under the Republican plan and no subsidies at all under Obamacare.


CORRECTION: In an earlier version, WalletHub said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that Obamacare premiums would go down by 10 percent by 2026. The CBO, in its analysis last week, said the GOP plant would result in premiums "roughly 10 percent lower than the estimates under current law."