CBO releases new score for ObamaCare repeal bill

Keren Carrion

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday released a new score for a revised plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare that Republican leaders are struggling to pass in the House. 

The CBO found that this version of the healthcare plan contains significantly less deficit reduction than the original but would lead to essentially the same levels of coverage losses and premium increases. 

The legislation would reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years, down from $337 billion in the original legislation, the report said. The plan would still result in 24 million more people being uninsured in 2026, a finding that has been a rallying cry for Democrats.

Premiums would still initially rise by 15 percent to 20 percent before eventually becoming 10 percent lower, the CBO said.

GOP leaders had pledged that they would wait for the CBO’s new score before holding a floor vote on the legislation. That vote could happen as early as Friday.

The CBO’s score, however, does not reflect last-minute changes that could be made to win over conservatives, including repeal of ObamaCare’s minimum coverage requirements. That change would be significant, but it is possible House Republicans could bring up the vote without that revised score. 

The revised analysis takes into account a range of changes Republicans made to the bill. The main reason the deficit reduction is now lower is that Republicans moved up repeal of ObamaCare’s taxes by one year, something conservatives had requested.

The revised bill also turns Medicaid funding into block grants for states and gives states the option of creating work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Another change slightly increases a cap on Medicaid spending.

GOP leaders are scrambling to shore up the 215 votes likely needed to pass the ObamaCare repeal bill. A vote on the bill for Thursday was postponed after efforts to strike a deal with conservatives came up empty.

Democrats are fighting to protect ObamaCare and rooting for Republicans to fail. They seized on the new CBO analysis.

“The CBO has reconfirmed tonight that the Republican plan will cause millions of Americans to lose their coverage and out-of-pocket costs to skyrocket, while subjecting middle-aged Americans to an age tax. They do all this to give $1 trillion in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, but they may not stop there,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

“It is astounding and appalling that Republicans in Congress are negotiating with the health and well-being of American families. They have no moral compass.”

Updated at 5:42 p.m.

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