The CBO report is a blow to those supporting the Senate bill, including President Donald Trump, since it would not motivate as-yet-undecided Republican senators to support the initiative.
In an interview with Fox News's Brian Kilmeade, Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the finding of the Congressional Budget Office that under the Senate's version of the bill, 22 million more people would be uninsured.
The measure is not in the Senate version of the Obamacare repeal effort, but could survive if conference committee called to reconcile the different bills. Senate leaders could use some of those additional savings to attract moderate votes by making Medicaid and other provisions more generous, though conservatives would rather use that money to reduce red ink.
Rebellious Republican senators are forcing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to scramble to rescue the party's health care bill before debate even begins.
The estimated increase in the number of uninsured under the bill that passed the House of Representatives last month was 23 million. Vice President Mike Pence invited four skeptical conservatives to his home Tuesday night for dinner.
Even before the estimate released Monday, Collins and several other moderate Republicans were on the fence with grave doubts.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told reporters on Capitol Hill today that he's "not voting to get on it unless it changes before we get to it". "I have a hard time believing I'll have enough information for me to support a motion to proceed this week", Johnson said. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who announced last week that he would oppose the procedural vote because, like Collins, is against the measure's deep cuts to Medicaid.
Those rebels were just part of McConnell's problem.
The CBO attributes this to the bill's lower subsidies, which it said will entice fewer people to buy insurance.
For example, a 64-year-old with an annual income of almost $57,000 would pay a premium of about $20,500 a year in 2026, triple the amount expected under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
The AARP hit out at the bill for letting insurers charge older customers up to five times more than younger ones.
The Senate plan would end the tax penalty that law imposes on people who don't buy insurance, in effect erasing Obama's so-called individual mandate, and on larger businesses that don't offer coverage to workers.
It would cut Medicaid, which provides health insurance to over 70 million poor and disabled people, by $772 billion through 2026 by capping its overall spending and phasing out Obama's expansion of the program.
The forecast that some 22 or 23 million people would lose healthcare coverage - although they presently enjoy that coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare - is due essentially to a drop in the number of people who will be covered by Medicaid, the system that provides care for the most disadvantaged people in the USA, and Medicare, which is created to help retirees.
"The CBO has consistently proven it can not accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage", the White House said in a statement. It said that similar to the House bill, average premiums around the country would be higher over the next two years - including about 20 per cent higher in 2018 than under Obama's statute - but lower beginning in 2020. On Monday, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, a nonpartisan group that represents state administrators of the program, said in a statement from its board that the legislation is unworkable, and called it "a transfer of risk, responsibility, and cost.of historic proportions". That's because standard policies would be skimpier than now offered under Obama's law, covering a smaller share of expected medical costs.
Johnson said he spoke with President Trump, who's been whipping reticent senators, for half an hour on Sunday, but vowed to his hometown paper that he's "not going to be bullied or pressured by anybody".