The revised Senate Republican healthcare bill would cut the deficit by $321 billion over 10 years but increase the number of people in the US without health insurance by 22 million — including those who choose not to buy coverage.
The bill would also send medical costs for millions of other poor and sick Americans soaring, new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO report said there would be a reduction in basic health protections under the bill that would repeal Obamacare.
The non-partisan office also said the plan would also mean $321 billion in savings over 10 years, compared to $119 billion in deficit savings under a similar bill passed by The House.
The Senate bill eliminates Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, cuts the growth of Medicaid spending and cuts taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 a year.
The Senate legislation would also cut the federal deficit by $321 billion over 10 years, driven by deep cuts to Medicaid and skimpier aid for people purchasing private coverage on their own. Those savings far exceed the $119 billion target set by the House bill, meeting a key requirement for Republicans hoping to pass the Senate bill through a fast-track budget process needing just 51 votes.
That also gives Republican leaders much-needed financial room to add resources aimed at winning over skeptical GOP senators, including those worried that the bill would too deeply cut Medicaid or weaken the response to the nationwide opioid epidemic. But adding spending to the bill could alienate the chamber’s conservatives, who are pushing for a more aggressive rollback of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
With Democrats solidly lined up against the repeal bill, Republican leaders can only afford to lose support from two of their members. But five GOP senators have pledged to vote against the current draft of the bill since it was released Thursday, and several more are undecided.
Republican leaders, meanwhile, remain committed to hold a vote on their bill dismantling Obamacare in the coming days ahead of the July 4 recess. After suggesting over the weekend that the vote could be pushed off several weeks, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Monday said Republicans “need” to pass the bill this week and could take their first procedural vote toward repeal as early as Tuesday.
The CBO score could make that already tight timeline even more difficult to hit without another round of changes to the bill. The nonpartisan scorekeeping office projected an earlier House-passed repeal plan would leave 23 million more uninsured, fueling backlash to a bill that President Donald Trump called “mean” after weeks of criticism. Yet, the Senate’s own plan is now projected to leave nearly the same number without coverage.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate swing vote, said last week she can’t support anything that would cost “tens of millions” of people their health care. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the most vulnerable incumbent up for reelection next year, condemned the Senate plan in harsh terms last week.
Other critics, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), have demanded more time to evaluate the bill’s impact and negotiate more changes. Any revisions to the Senate bill would need to be re-scored by the CBO before it can head to a vote.
Under rules of reconciliation, the budget maneuver Republicans are using to push through Obamacare repeal without any Democratic votes, the Senate version of the legislation must save at least as much money as the House version does. The House bill would produce $119 billion in savings, giving Majority Leader Mitch McConnell more than $200 billion to make the bill’s coverage more robust should he choose to court moderates