The GOP's fight to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Affordable Care Act is far from over; in fact, things are about to get a little more complicated. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its AHCA score on Wednesday, meaning that the non-partisan federal agency will publish a report that analyzes the estimated financial cost of the divisive health care plan. If the report projects that the AHCA will strip health care from millions without providing the federal savings it promised, the bill may have to go through another set of revisions, which could necessitate yet another House vote.
The House hurriedly voted to pass the AHCA earlier in May — almost entirely along party lines — without the CBO estimate on the plan's costs post-revisions. But now, if the new CBO score doesn't meet the Senate's budget and saving standards, the AHCA will have to start back at square one in the House. From there, the House would have to vote on the newest revised version once again. The CBO did estimate that the GOP's first version of the AHCA would strip at at least 24 million Americans of their insurance, a statistic that helped Democrats and moderate Republicans successfully resist the passing of that initial version of the bill. The new version may have equally, if not more concerning findings.
This should be fun: tomorrow the CBO releases their scoring on Trumpcare/AHCA. Grab your popcorn!— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) May 22, 2017
“I would be shocked if we didn’t wind up with a CBO score that showed more than 20 million people lose insurance,” Doug Holtz-Eakin, who served as CBO director during George W. Bush’s administration, told Politico.
Ultimately, the CBO had a daunting task ahead of them in assessing the financial costs of the AHCA. After the initial version of the bill failed to pass the House, it was altered with some key provisions, like allowing states to opt out of mandating that insurance companies guarantee certain Obamacare protections. This means that in crafting its report, CBO scorekeepers had to predict the decisions of all 50 states, and how these choices would individually affect the cost and coverage of consumers.
Q: Why vote on AHCA w/o budget analysis?— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 23, 2017
Ryan: "We want to work on our schedule and not on a schedule of some other body like the CBO."
Despite this complexity, the report is scheduled to be published Wednesday, which means that the Republicans could potentially have some major damage control to do if the report is negative — and that's in addition to all of the damage control they're already doing as the Trump-Russia investigation continues to heat up following the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.