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 CruzOvernight Finance: GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few no votes | Highlights from day two of markup | House votes to overturn joint-employer rule | Senate panel approves North Korean banking sanctions GOP criticism of tax bill grows, but few ready to vote against it Anti-gay marriage county clerk Kim Davis to seek reelection in Kentucky 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 PaulGOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals Red state lawmakers find blue state piggy bank Prosecutors tell Paul to expect federal charges against attacker: report MORE (R-Kent.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care: Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid GOP senator: CBO moving the goalposts on ObamaCare mandate Cornyn: Senate GOP tax plan to be released Thursday 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.