Voting Without CBO Estimate Is Potentially Risky for GOP

Republicans say they'll pass ObamaCare replacement on Thursday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2017 8:57 AM CDT
CBO Hasn't Scored Health Bill House Is About to Vote On
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., left, speaks to reporters outside the White House.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

House Republicans promise to call a vote on their plan to replace ObamaCare on Thursday, but the Hill notes that lawmakers will cast those votes without an official estimate of how much the plan costs or how it will affect coverage for Americans. That is, the Congressional Budget Office hasn't had time to assess the American Health Care Act and score it. "I wish that we had it, all right?" said Rep. Fred Upton, a key figure who switched from no to yes when the White House agreed to add $8 billion for pre-existing conditions. But Upton said any such CBO estimate is probably weeks away, adding that the measure could be changed, perhaps by the Senate, at that point. At Vox, Sarah Kliff writes that the rush to vote is a risky move for the GOP. "The CBO score will come out sooner or later, and Republicans might be faced with defending a bill they don't like much at all."

The sticking point over pre-existing conditions had threatened to derail the measure, and critics say the $8 billion amendment still won't do enough to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions will be adequately covered. An analysis by the Fact Checker blog at the Washington Post says the issue is so nuanced that the simplistic talking points coming from both sides on the issue are useless. "If the bill ever became law, much would depend on unknown policy decisions by individual states—and then how those decisions are implemented." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that even if the vote is successful, it would "face uncertain prospects" in the Senate. Among other things, the House bill would reduce funding for Medicaid, which provides coverage for low-income and disabled Americans. (More ObamaCare stories.)

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