Healthcare

CBO: House GOP bill delaying key parts of ObamaCare will cost over $50 billion

House GOP legislation that would delay or repeal certain parts of ObamaCare will cost $51.6 billion over the next decade, according to a new government analysis.

The report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released Tuesday comes as the House plans to vote on the legislation later this week.

The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday to prepare the measure for a floor vote.

One of the most significant provisions of the bill, called the Save America's Workers Act, would be a retroactive delay in ObamaCare's employer mandate penalty.

The mandate, originally intended to take effect in 2014, required companies with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance or otherwise face a penalty.

The mandate was delayed several times with bipartisan support, but it took effect in 2015 for companies with 100 workers. The House GOP bill would retroactively suspend penalties for the employer mandate, starting in 2015 through 2019.

Powerful lobbying groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have long pushed for a repeal of the employer mandate.

The mandate was lucrative for the federal government. According to previous CBO estimates, it was projected to bring in about $207 billion over the course of a decade. Delaying the penalty is estimated to cost $25.9 billion through 2028, the CBO said.

The House bill would also change ObamaCare's definition of a "full-time employee" to someone who is employed for 40 hours a week, rather than 30 hours a week as the health-care law currently states.

The CBO estimated that this change would cost the federal government $9.8 billion from 2019 through 2028.

Critics argue that changing the definition would give employers an incentive to shift more workers to part-time.

Republicans argue the bill would preserve full-time work, as the current statute gives employers an incentive to cut workers' hours to avoid paying fines as a result of the penalty.

The House bill would also delay implementation of the tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans for another year, pushing it back to 2023. That provision is estimated to cost $15.5 billion, according to CBO.

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