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CBO: 14 Million Would Lose Health Insurance Without Individual Mandate

Repealing the individual mandate at the heart of Obamacare would cause the ranks of the uninsured to soar by 14 million people but would lower the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Tuesday. Eliminating the mandate — a goal of Republicans — would also cause health insurance premiums to jump 20 percent in the individual market, the CBO estimated in conjunction with the Joint Committee on Taxation.  The administration has long contended the individual mandate is an essential part of the law to ensure healthy people don't game the system by waiting until they get sick to purchase insurance. And if healthy people don't buy insurance, that necessarily increases the cost for everyone else. The deficit is reduced because CBO estimates fewer people would sign up for Medicaid or subsidized health exchanges. That would shrink the deficit about $305 billion over a decade. The number of uninsured would be 41 million people in 2025, 14 million higher than if the Affordable Care Act continues unaltered. Related: See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.