According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), repealing the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) controversial individual mandate would result in higher premiums and prompt an estimated 4 million people to neglect buying health insurance.
While the federal government would lose $31 billion from lost fines on people dodging the mandate, it would also see a $338 million net drop in the deficit over the next 10 years due to lowered spending on Medicaid and ACA subsidies.
Analysts have warned that repealing the individual mandate — a central promise and the subject of a high-profile Supreme Court case in 2012 — would likely take healthy people out of insurance pools and make it more difficult to pay for sick insurance recipients. But according to the CBO, repealing the mandate wouldn't destabilize non-group insurance markets over the next decade.
Insurance premiums would rise, however, by 10 percent.
The CBO's report, released on Wednesday, came after several failed attempts by congressional Republicans to repeal provisions of the ACA. In previous CBO estimates, GOP repeal packages notably cut costs but pushed millions of people off insurance rolls.
Despite both Republicans and the president campaigning on ending the Obama-era health law, the GOP has consistently failed to garner enough support for passage from its own party. The last congressional attempt to repeal Obamacare failed months ago after leading Senate Republicans announced their opposition.
The president eventually took matters into his own hands, announcing later that he would end ACA subsidies critical to assisting low-income individuals with health insurance payments.