Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

CBO Predicts GOP Health Care Bill Could Leave 22 Million Uninsured

A cost estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) might have further hurt their chances. Republicans have slammed the mandate for years as an affront to personal liberty, an unconstitutional coercion by the federal government that forces people to buy a product they may or may not want.

That comment came before the revised draft of the bill was released about 1 p.m. ET.

Earlier Monday, Republican leaders added a penalty to their bill for people who've had at least a 63-day gap in coverage during the past year.

The rank-and-file-which in this case means senators who don't really care about or understand health care-will do what is expected of them, though not because they're particularly thrilled about the impending health care utopia they've been promised. That helps insurance companies pay for sicker customers who are more expensive to cover.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released his initial measure last week.

Among them is Wisconsin Sen.

Republican leaders could reinvest those savings to try to sway potential holdouts, such as Sens.

"They're trying to jam this thing through. It is far from a ideal bill", Johnson told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt Monday. He says the leadership effort is "a little offensive" and says conservatives haven't had input into the proposal.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said seven to eight additional senators including herself were troubled by provisions in the Senate bill that she believes could cut Medicaid for the poor even more than the House version. Republican senators were meeting Tuesday afternoon at the White House to to discuss the next steps. The Senate bill also assumes that after 2025, Medicaid bills will grow more slowly than they have historically.

If the Senate approves its repeal version, either the House would have to pass the same bill or reconcile its version with the Senate's before Trump could sign it into law.

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"This is a very complicated subject", he said.

"And honestly, nobody can be totally happy", Trump said. But Monday's CBO report appeared to put some Democrats in a visibly good mood as they watched their GOP colleagues squirm.

The bill, which is opposed by all Democratic senators, has also faced criticism from a handful of Republicans. "Not easy! Perhaps just let OCare crash & burn!" Asked if Democrats would be involved in future discussions toward reworking the bill, McConnell said "they're not interested in participating".

McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate by the end of this week, but some Republicans are rebelling. However, for people would like to purchase plans that cover the essential health benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, including mental health coverage, addiction treatment, maternity care and prescription drug coverage, costs could go way up.

He told reporters at a private gathering hosted by the libertarian Koch brothers in Colorado that Trump will be "important" in securing the final votes. "The Senate bill thinks more carefully than the House bill does about the consequences of different policies to the stability of insurance markets".

In a strongly worded statement that reflects the "unanimous" views of its board, the National Association of Medicaid Directors said the Republican health care bill would be "a transfer of risk, responsibility, and cost to the states of historic proportions".

Conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he is opposing the Senate bill because it "is not anywhere close to repeal" of the Affordable Care Act. According to CBO's projections, the bill would leave 22 million more Americans uninsured by 2026. "I just know it's better than Obamacare". Famous last words, right?

"I'm telling you right now, I can not support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans", Heller said. "We don't have too much of a choice, because the alternative is the dead carcass of Obamacare". Republicans have called Obamacare - officially known as the Affordable Care Act - "unsustainable", citing skyrocketing premiums and the unstable health insurance marketplaces created by the law.

So then what is going to be done in the next 24 or 48 hours to get those 50 votes that are needed to open debate on the bill?

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