A nonpartisan analysis released on Tuesday estimates Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's health care plans for the U.S. would result in 72 million uninsured by 2022.
The report from the Commonwealth Fund looked at how the outcome of November's election would affect the county's health care landscape.
Researchers found that if President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains in place, the number of uninsured would drop to 27 million by 2022.
A recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there are currently more than 48 million uninsured nationwide.
Romney has proposed repealing the ACA and replacing it with state block grants and tax incentives that will encourage people to buy individual health plans. He's also said he'll add more private plans to Medicare and will give patients money – the sum of which will be adjusted for age and income – so they can buy whatever plan they want.
He hasn't revealed much more detail than that, so analysts made several assumptions about their Romney calculations, including one where Medicaid grants to states grew with a state's population plus 1 percent.
The report asks how the candidates' plans perform on seven points: health insurance coverage, insurance affordability, consumer protection, consumer choice, help for small business and improving quality of care and slowing spending growth.
"The Affordable Care Act would likely outperform Romney's plan to repeal the law and replace it with fewer federal requirements and funding in insurance markets and the Medicaid and Medicare programs," wrote the authors.
Here are some other notable differences the report highlighted. Keep in mind that the analysis works off several assumptions when it comes to Romney's plan:
– The kids: Of the 72 million who will be uninsured in 2022 under Romney's plan, a projected 17.9 million will be under the age of 19. The same is true for 6 million of the 27 million who will are projected to uninsured under the ACA that same year.
– The middle class: Under Romney's plan, the year 2022 will see 17.7 uninsured middle-income Americans. (That refers to folks who make between $32,000 and $58,000 yearly.) Under the ACA, that number is estimated at 3.3 million.
– Low-income: 38.7 million people who make less than $32,000 yearly will be insurance-less under Romney in 2022; the same is true for 17.2 million of those same people under the ACA.
– States: Under the ACA, by the year 2022 rates of uninsured folks will fall by more than 15 percent in 11 states and will reduce that rate to less than 10 percent in most states. Under Romney's proposals, at least 25 percent of the under-65 population in 21 states might be without insurance.
– Medicare: Romney's proposal would make getting prescription drugs more difficult for Medicare patients, and would eliminate their their free annual wellness visit. It could increase patients' out-of-pocket costs, too. And, without the ACA, the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would be empty by 2016 – not 2024 as projected by the ACA.
– Individual insurance plans: Under the ACA, these would cost an average of 9.1 percent of a person's yearly income; under Romney's proposals, it'd cost about 14.1 percent; without either plan, it would cost 18.1 percent.
– Consumer protection: Measures like ones that prevent insurance companies from turning away kids because of preexisting conditions or dropping coverage when a patient gets sick would be gone under Romney, who has said he will prevent discrimination against folks with preexisting conditions who have health insurance.
– Small businesses: Under the ACA, small businesses with low-wage workers are eligible for tax credits to offset the cost of health care; those credits would be gone under Romney's proposals.
– Cost: Repealing the ACA would increase U.S. debt by $109 billion over nine years.