That House Vote On The AHCA Might Not Have Been As Final As You Thought
If you aren't a fan of the American Health Care Act, waiting for the House of Representatives to vote on the bill after it was delayed multiple times probably wasn't the most relaxing experience. Well, you might have to tolerate that that anxiety-inducing anticipation all over again. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that if the Congressional Budget Office score necessitates alterations to the bill, the AHCA may return to the House for a vote.
On May 4, the House of Representatives passed the Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. It was by no means an instantaneous process. For one, it didn't happen within President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office, as expected. Secondly, it passed by a mere four votes.
Though the vote in May was certainly a victory for the GOP, Republicans had initially attempted and failed to pass the bill in March. On March 23, the GOP ultimately delayed the health care bill vote after realizing there wasn't enough support to pass it. Later that night, Trump got the message across that if the bill didn't go through to a vote the following day, he was done promoting it and Republicans would have to live with Obamacare. On March 24, the AHCA flopped, as the GOP came face to face with a deep divide between moderate Republicans and the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.
Republicans' hurried efforts to get the health care bill passed as soon as it garnered enough votes came with a steep cost — and risk. That's because the CBO never had a chance to score the bill before it went to the House for a vote. Thus, if the CBO deems changes must be made to the bill, the revised version of the AHCA will have to go back through the House for a vote. In fact, Ryan himself hasn't sent the bill to the Senate because Republicans are reportedly anticipating changes will have to be made to it first, Bloomberg reported.
The CBO did, however, release a report scoring the earlier version of the health care bill. It concluded that although the unrevised bill would cut billions of dollars from the federal deficit over the next decade, 24 million Americans would likely lose their coverage by 2026. It's unclear whether or not the CBO will reach a different conclusion for the revised version of the bill.
Unlike the health care bill that was pulled from the House floor, the ultimately successful one caters to the Freedom Caucus' interests by allowing states to apply for waivers that would let insurance providers charge higher premiums for pre-existing conditions and opt out of covering Obamacare's "essential benefits." Ultimately, this could lead to skimpier coverage.
Whether or not this bill will make it to the Senate in the near future is up in the air. So prepare to go through this "will Obamacare be repealed?" process all over again. Expect the CBO to release its report within the following week.