This Week – May 27, 2017

This Week in Washington, D.C.

  • Be the go-to policy wonk at your Memorial Day Weekend BBQ: health reform updates and forecasts

From ACG National Affairs Committee Chair, Whitfield L. Knapple, MD, FACG

Be the go-to policy wonk at your Memorial Day Weekend BBQ: health reform updates and forecasts

On Wednesday, May 24th, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the “score” or cost estimate and policy impact of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill that the U.S. House of Representatives passed on May 4th.  This bill repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and make changes to coverage requirements and Medicaid.  ACG provided membership with a summary this bill.

CBO estimates that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured, compared with the current law. By 2026, that figure would rise to 23 million. CBO projects the legislation would reduce federal deficits by $119 billion over 10 years. That amount is $32 billion less than the savings for the previous version of AHCA that CBO scored on March 23rd.  However, it is important because that estimate clearly meets the $2 billion of minimum projected savings the bill needed in order to be taken up by the Senate via budgetary reconciliation rules.  This allows the Senate to pass the bill by a simple majority, however, the score clearly makes things even more difficult for Republican leadership, who are trying to preserve 50 votes needed to pass the bill (via reconciliation).  It remains unlikely that the Senate will able to pass House version as is, but instead, will try to craft a proposal created by a work group of Republican senators (and a few Democratic senators in Republican-leaning states).   This is a very difficult task for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Trump.  The official CBO now puts Senate Republicans on the clock.

Some brief points on the CBO score and political developments of interest heading into the long weekend: read the full post here.