One CBO Number Could Doom GOP Health Plan

Cost may be bigger factor than estimate on how many will lose coverage in GOP plan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2017 10:36 AM CDT
What to Watch in CBO Report on GOP's Health Care Plan
House Speaker Paul Ryan, center, with Rep. Greg Walden, right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, talks about the GOP plan on March 7.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

How much will it cost and how many people will lose insurance? Expect answers to those questions to dominate when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office releases its official assessment of the GOP plan to replace ObamaCare. It could come as early as Monday. Related coverage:

  • The New York Times offers high and low estimates on five key numbers that will be in the report. The number of those expected to lose insurance, for example, ranges from 8 million to 20 million. See the graphic here.
  • The take at Axios: If the coverage estimates are bad, the GOP may be able to soldier on, but if the cost estimates are bad, "it could be over" because "conservatives won't vote for a bill they consider too expensive."
  • Republicans have been pushing back in advance, acknowledging, for example, that the number of people insured will be fewer because their plan does away with the individual mandate. "We're not going to make an American do what they don't want to do," said Paul Ryan on Sunday. He declined to provide his own estimate, saying, "It's up to people." See CNN.
  • The White House also has been preemptively questioning the CBO's credibility, accusing it of being way off when it scored ObamaCare, per the Washington Times. But PolitiFact looks into the criticism and finds it lacking context and only "half true."

  • The GOP plan faces a tough fight in the House but perhaps a tougher one in the Senate, where another Republican voiced skepticism over the weekend. This time it was Dean Heller of Nevada, according to audio obtained by Politico. Previous Senate critics have included Tom Cotton and Rand Paul.
  • GOP governors, meanwhile, are worried about losing expanded Medicaid coverage, per the Hill, which lays out the broad strokes of the plan's political prospects. One thing it says is vital for passage: President Trump's use of the bully pulpit to pressure lawmakers.
  • A Forbes blogger complains that exaggerations from both sides are at "stratospheric heights" and punctures 10 of them. He tells Democrats, for example, that ObamaCare problems can't be blamed solely on Republicans. "You rammed through a defective bill and administered it without the tough love needed to make it work." Read it here.
  • The AARP has already come out against the GOP plan, worried about its effect on older Americans to afford insurance. Its analysis is at MedCityNews.
(More health care stories.)

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