Democrats ask CBO for full analysis of Obamacare repeal

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Congressional Democrats on Monday asked the Congressional Budget Office to perform a full analysis of the Republicans' latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Under the proposed legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., last week, certain parts of Obamacare would be repealed, including the individual mandate. Instead of giving subsidies to insurers and funding for Medicaid expansion, states could apply for block grants.

Republicans asked the CBO to expedite a score on the so-called Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is required in order to pass the bill using the budgetary process of reconciliation. In order to pass the bill using reconciliation -- the deadline for which is Sept. 30 -- a CBO analysis would have to show the bill reduces the budget deficit.

But that rule doesn't require a full analysis, which is what Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelos, D-Calif., asked for in a letter to the CBO. They said "the public needs a full understanding of the impact this legislation would have on hard-working families."

The letter, also signed by Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., both ranking members of their respective budget committees, said the analysis should study three different time periods "of concern," including 2018-19 immediately after enactment, 2020-26 and after 2017, when funding is reduced.

Democrats want to know how many people would lose health insurance under the bill, how premiums and out-of-pocket costs would change, how people with pre-existing conditions would be affected, how much Medicaid would be cut, how it would impact the stability of the insurance marketplaces and whether there would be enough time for states to reinvent their health systems.

"Thus far, every version of Republicans' effort to repeal and replace the ACA has meant higher health costs, millions of hard-working Americans pushed off coverage, and key protections gutted with devastating consequences for those with pre-existing conditions," the letter said."A comprehensive CBO analysis is essential before Republicans force a hasty, dangerous vote on what is an extreme and destructive repeal bill."

Politico reported the bill is short of the 51 votes required for it to pass. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would bring the legislation to the floor for a vote if it has the support of at least 50 senators.
Danielle Haynes

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