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A 64 year old making $26,500 a year would pay a premium of $1,700 Obamacare $14600 Republicare When Paul Ryan calls this "an act of mercy" he must mean a mercy killing

Is this really true? Will the premium be more than half of the income of a 64 year old under the proposed new system? And is the old rate true?


This figure has been extracted from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

Washington Post:

According to the CBO, 64-year olds making $26,500 per year would see their premiums increase by an estimated 750 percent by 2026. While they are on track to pay $1,700 under the current law, the CBO projects the American Health Care Act would force them to pay $14,600. Even if you grant that inflation will allow them to make slightly more money by 2026, that's still about half of their income going to health care.

They point to a table from the CBO report:

High Resolution Chart of Insurance Costs

Like all economic modelling, the CBO report is based on assumptions that you might disagree with, but the original claim is not invented - it is backed by a reasonable source.

The parameters used in this example do seem to be chosen to illustrate a very hard-hit demographic, so while they are real and might in fact be illustrative, they don't represent all Americans:

  • The chart as a whole is for non-group health insurance plans offered to individuals. At the time of the 2016 census (PDF), 56% of the US population was covered by employee-based group plans, while only 16% were covered by the kind of non-group direct-purchased plan discussed here (but that is still over 52 million Americans).
  • Premiums increase with the age of the covered individual, but since someone 65 or older may be eligible for Medicare, age 64 represents the age with maximum premiums.
  • The "premium tax credit" is calculated based on income, so individuals earning significantly less than $26,500 a year would be eligible for higher credits, or might qualify for Medicaid (depending on state participation).
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