It’s already been nearly a week since the House of Representatives narrowly approved a controversial budget resolution that guts much of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and we still don’t have any estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office of what this massive change to the insurance system might cost. Now the CBO says it may be another two weeks until we get that estimate.
In a statement emailed to Consumerist and other media outlets, CBO confirmed this morning that it plans to release its analysis of the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act at some point early in the week of May 22. The note said the Budget Office will be more precise about the timing as the actual release of the score approaches.
The AHCA is now with the Senate, where a number of lawmakers — including some prominent Republicans — criticized the House for rushing through this legislation without waiting for the CBO feedback.
“A bill — finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate — should be viewed with caution,” wrote Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) on the day the House passed the bill.
What remains to be seen is how the CBO will factor in the last-minute changes made to the AHCA that would allow states to opt out of certain requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Without any indication of exactly which states would choose to opt out — and which provisions they would seek to opt out from — some have argued that CBO will have difficulty in providing an accurate forecast of this legislation’s impact.
Some in the Senate have argued for taking the House bill straight to a vote on the Senate floor, but others are calling for a more deliberate process to address concerns with the resolution.
“We’re starting over from a clean sheet of paper here,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee earlier this week. “I don’t think you’re going to see an effort to modify it. It’s an effort to write a new bill.”
Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that “This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done.”
If the Senate does indeed overhaul the AHCA or produce a piece of legislation on its own, then the CBO score coming later this month could be moot.