GOP wants new cost estimate for health law after mandate delay

Leading Republican lawmakers want to know how much ObamaCare will cost now that its employer mandate has been deferred one year.

In a letter Wednesday, seven GOP committee leaders asked the Congressional Budget office to reestimate the law's budget impact in light of the surprise administrative delay.

Republicans noted that the decision by the Obama administration could increase the number of people who receive coverage under the insurance exchanges or in Medicaid.

ADVERTISEMENT
"There are many unanswered questions about how the delay will affect insurance options available to individuals, the subsidies provided to those who purchase health insurance on the … exchanges, the impact on employer sponsored coverage, and Medicaid spending," the lawmakers wrote.

"The delay also raises serious concerns about the long-run feasibility of the employer mandate and the law’s burden on employers," they added.

The letter was signed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee; and five other GOP committee leaders from the House and Senate.

Ryan's staff already filed a similar request with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Any new CBO score for the Affordable Care Act will fuel debate over the law's future impact.

Budget analysts have said that repealing the law would increase the national deficit.

Republicans reject this analysis, saying ObamaCare will add trillions to the deficit as enrollment outstrips the law's revenue-raising provisions over time.

Delaying the employer mandate could increase the law's cost by making more people eligible for exchange subsides and Medicaid coverage, experts say.