Senate asks for CBO score on Cruz’s healthcare proposal

Senate asks for CBO score on Cruz’s healthcare proposal
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are asking the Congressional Budget Office to analyze a healthcare bill that includes changes proposed by Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report Overnight Regulation: Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA | Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | NTSB 'gathering information' on Tesla crash Overnight Finance: Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | Mulvaney declares 'new mission' for consumer bureau | Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs MORE (R-Texas), Axios reported Saturday.

They are also asking the independent scorekeeper to come out with an estimate on a healthcare bill without the proposed changes, in an effort to better understand the potential effects of Cruz's plan. 

Cruz, who has said that he cannot vote for the Senate Republicans' healthcare bill in its current form, proposed an amendment to the measure this week that would allow health insurers to sell plans that do not meet the standards required by the Affordable Care Act.

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Under that provision, insurance companies would still be required to sell at least one plan that meets the ACA's standards.

The plan could win support by some conservatives in the Senate, like Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Regulation: Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA | Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | NTSB 'gathering information' on Tesla crash Overnight Finance: Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | Mulvaney declares 'new mission' for consumer bureau | Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs Senate confirms Jerome Powell as Fed chairman MORE (R-Kent.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump Commerce pick told lawmakers he would look at reversing Obama move on internet oversight: report Overnight Regulation: Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA | Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | NTSB 'gathering information' on Tesla crash Overnight Finance: Senate confirms Powell as Fed chair | Mulvaney declares 'new mission' for consumer bureau | Trump says solar tariffs will boost jobs MORE (R-Utah), who say the current Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) does not do enough to repeal ObamaCare or lower insurance premiums.

By requiring insurers to offer at least one plan in each market that meets ObamaCare's regulatory standards, Cruz's plan could appease moderate Republicans, who have called for the Senate bill to maintain the ACA's rule prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

The CBO released its assessment of the BCRA on Monday, estimating that the measure would trim the federal deficit by $321 billion, but would also increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million over the next decade.

Updated at 8:50 p.m.