Republicans on Capitol Hill are preparing for the Wednesday release of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the GOP health care bill that passed the House earlier this month.
The GOP passed the bill before the Congressional Budget Office’s scoring of the House bill. In their haste to repeal and replace Obamacare, the actions of the GOP received harsh criticism from health care providers, Democrats and seized upon by angry constituents at town hall meetings.
The bill has received two previous scores by the CBO. Two amendments added to the bill before it passed through the House have since changed the CBO’s score significantly.
Despite House Republicans downplaying the score ahead of the CBO’s release, the report could create serious implications for the future of the AHCA.
An earlier analysis of the bill estimated that 24 million Americans would lose health insurance by 2016 under the GOP’s AHCA, compared to Obamacare.
The CBO scoring of the GOP and estimates of the American Health Care Act could determine whether the Republican stronghold to repeal and replace Obamacare occurs. The CBO scoring would also determine whether the Senate will take up the measure, which passed with only one vote to spare in the House.
The health care sector in no uncertain terms was at greater risk to be impacted by the life of the bill in the House, specifically if overhauled by the Senate and sent back to House Republicans to pass another bill.
Senate budget rules require the AHCA to save $2 billion over ten years in order to be taken up under reconciliation—a process allowing Senate Republicans to pass the bill with only 51 votes.
If the CBO, which is nonpartisan determines that the GOP bill doesn’t pass reconciliation, Democrats could filibuster the measure. The bill could be sent back to House Republicans to amend and hold another vote.
High ranking Republicans continue to show optimism and believe that it’s unlikely the bill won’t meet the Senate requirements.
The CBO report and score are significant on various levels because it includes an estimate of whether the number of Americans with health insurance would change and by how much.
Margot Sanger-Katz at the New York Times polled six healthcare experts ahead of the new CBO score, and their estimates ranged from 20 million more uninsured to 25 million.
Cynthia Cox, associate director at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said “there is a chance the new amendments added to the AHCA could bring down the number of people without coverage.”
Looking at the impact of the amendments, there could be substantial coverage losses, but to a lesser degree than the previous CBO score. One reason cited for the disparity in losses pointed to waivers that some states would honor, which could help more healthy people to purchase insurance. The downside is that sick people would be priced out of the market, specifically in states taking up waivers, which would be more affordable for healthier people to opt in.
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