Overnight Health Care: Why CBO isn't scoring Sanders's Medicare for All bill | ObamaCare repeal could come back next year | Dem pushes to overturn Trump health rules

Overnight Health Care: Why CBO isn't scoring Sanders's Medicare for All bill | ObamaCare repeal could come back next year | Dem pushes to overturn Trump health rules
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care, where the Senate's gone and it's almost Labor Day. But worry not, there is still health-care news!

Let's dive in.


Why CBO won't estimate cost of Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersTrump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump rips 'ridiculous' spending bill | FBI dragged into new fight | Latest on Maryland shooting Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE's 'Medicare for all' bill

Last September, Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Push to change wildlife act sparks lobbying blitz House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill MORE (R-Wyo.), looking to hinder the push for single-payer health insurance, requested a Congressional Budget Office score of Sen. Bernie Sanders's bill. But it does not appear that the CBO accepted his request.

Why? In short, the bill does not yet have a real chance of passage, and CBO does not have unlimited time.


"You have to ask yourself, 'Is there likely to be serious legislative action on it?' And clearly the answer to that is no," said Robert Reischauer, who was CBO director in the 1990s before becoming head of the Urban Institute.

CBO staff are busy working on more pressing legislation, Reischauer said. "The cost estimating units are usually operating at full or over capacity," he said. "It isn't like they can accept all requests."

Why it matters: If the CBO ever does produce a score, it would be sure to set off a furious debate, and give Republicans fodder to attack the bill for its trillions in new costs to the government, a key argument they are making in the midterm elections this year.

Until then, Republicans will have to make do with using other studies, like one from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University that found the bill would cost the government $32 trillion over 10 years.

Read more here.


GOP eyes another shot at ObamaCare repeal after McCain's death

After Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainArizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief MORE's (R-Ariz.) death, Senate Republicans are eyeing another shot at ObamaCare repeal next year, our Senate reporter colleague Alexander Bolton reports.

A senior Senate GOP aide said the chamber would "absolutely" vote again to repeal ObamaCare but cautioned it would depend on "if we keep the House."

"McCain was personally conservative but ideologically inconsistent," the aide said. "I think Ducey is going to pick someone more like himself. He's a more reliable conservative."

That's a reference to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who faces a tough choice in deciding whom to name to McCain's seat.

Caveat: Republicans can only make another run at repealing ObamaCare if they maintain control of both chambers in Congress in this year's elections, and they would likely need to grow their majority in the Senate, given the handful of opponents of last year's repeal efforts there.

That is giving Democrats an argument this year as well: Vote for Democrats if you don't want repeal to come back.

Read more here.


Dem introduces measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans

Senate Democrats are keeping up the drumbeat on attacking Republicans over pre-existing conditions ahead of the midterms.

The latest move: Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump Poll: Democrats inch forward in Wisconsin MORE (D-Wis.) on Wednesday introduced a measure to overturn a Trump administration rule expanding access to non-ObamaCare insurance plans.

Keep an eye out for a forced vote: Baldwin's office says she has the 30 senators necessary to force a vote on her measure before lawmakers leave town in October.

Baldwin is facing a competitive reelection race in a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE won in 2016.

The backstory: At issue are rules the Trump administration finalized on Aug. 1 to expand short-term health insurance plans, allowing them to last up to one year instead of three months. The administration argues these plans give people a cheaper option than ObamaCare plans, but Democrats call them "junk" plans because they can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and do not have to cover a range of benefits.

Read more here.


CDC: Uninsured rates hold steady after one year of Trump

After all the turmoil in health policy in 2017, the uninsured rate was... well, basically unchanged.

That's according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the first three months of 2018, 8.8 percent of people of all ages were uninsured, or 28.3 million people, according to the report.

There was no "significant change," the CDC said, from the same period last year, when 9.1 percent of people, or 29.3 million, were uninsured.

The steady rates come despite several policy changes made to ObamaCare by the Trump administration.

It shortened the open enrollment period for 2018, cut funding to local groups that sign people up for coverage and ended ObamaCare insurer subsidies, among other actions.

But, remember: The impacts of Congress's repeal of the individual mandate are still unknown, as it doesn't take effect until January 2019, but some experts think it could cause people to drop coverage.

Read more here.


The Hill event 

Join us Wednesday, Sept. 12 for "A Healthy Start: Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition," featuring Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service Brandon Lipps. Editor in Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with the headliners to discuss maternal, infant, and early childhood nutrition, and what steps can be taken to establish healthier eating patterns across all communities. RSVP Here.


What we're reading

Kavanaugh signals skepticism about the latest GOP lawsuit to overturn Obamacare (Los Angeles Times)

ObamaCare tied to fewer uninsured hospitalizations for heart disease, cancer (Reuters)


State by state

Obamacare premiums expected to increase by 5 percent in Florida in 2019 (Orlando Sentinel)

California Assembly backs medication abortion on campuses (Associated Press)