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June 26, 2017 2:49 pm

CBO: Senate Trumpcare Bill Reduces Insured By 22 Million

  • by: Colorado Pols



New York Times with the bad news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Cory Gardner, and maybe you:

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law, the budget office said.

The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade, the budget office said.

The release of the budget office’s analysis comes as a number of reluctant Republican senators weigh whether to support the health bill, which the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, wants approved before a planned recess for the Fourth of July…

Before the budget office released its report on Monday, the American Medical Association officially announced its opposition to the bill, and the National Governors Association urged the Senate to slow down.

Now, the budget office’s findings will give fodder to Democrats who were already assailing the bill as cruel. It could give pause to some Republican senators who have been mulling whether to support the bill — or it could give them an additional reason to come out against the bill altogether.

Savoring every morsel of disaster.

And for all that, as the Washington Post reports, the reality might be even worse:

For the Senate bill, the CBO’s estimates of insurance coverage and federal spending are influenced by the fact that its forecast covers a 10-year window and the legislation’s most profound changes for the nation’s health-care system are tilted toward the latter part of that period.

The bill would, for instance, leave in place the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid through 2020. After that, it would begin a three-year phaseout of the federal money that under the ACA has paid almost the entire cost of adding 11 million Americans to the program’s rolls in 31 states…

Over the weekend, the senior Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that oversees the CBO said in a tweet that he had asked the budget office to estimate the Senate bill’s effect on insurance coverage over a longer time horizon. “GOP is hiding the worst Medicaid cuts in years 11, 12, 13 and hoping CBO stays quiet,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) [Pols emphasis]

Regardless of any clever accounting that might have been attempted to reduce the visibility of the pain, it’s clear now that the Senate’s Obamacare repeal legislation is no more defensible than the House’s bill. With only a small fraction more Americans protected, there’s little worry now about Republicans forcing us to debate between the House’s “worse” measure and the Senate’s “bad” one–they’re both really bad. That means the comparisons will be to existing law, meaning the status quo under the Affordable Care Act. The possibility that Senate Republicans might have gained leverage with a bill substantially less harmful than the House’s was one of the few real opportunities to break out of the present stalemate, but that is not what happened.

What we have now is legislation that almost certainly cannot pass the Senate. In his interview last week with Denver7 in which he admitted not being as involved in the drafting as we were led to believe, Sen. Cory Gardner laid out several conditions that the then-forthcoming bill would have to meet to gain his support: that the legislation reduce the cost of insurance, create “stability in the insurance markets,” and make Medicaid “sustainable.” It’s very difficult to argue that reducing the number of insured patients by tens of millions will bring “stability” to the market. As for making Medicaid “sustainable?” Unless that represents an abandonment of Gardner’s previous stated desire to protect Medicaid expansion patients, this bill won’t meet that test either.

The CBO’s estimate is bad enough that it could well doom this legislation before a vote even takes place, much like the CBO’s estimate of the first House bill forced Speaker Paul Ryan to pull that bill without a vote. At this point, the most politically face-saving outcome for Gardner would be for the bill to be pulled, which would leave Gardner in a position to say whatever he wants to say.

Otherwise, Gardner must take a vote that either damages GOP Senators he must defend next year as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or damages Gardner personally. Either way, today’s news just underscores the folly of this whole effort. Ending the GOP’s seven-year campaign to destroy the Affordable Care Act would have negative long-term consequences for Gardner, since he has invested disproportionate political capital into vilifying the law.

But at this point, keeping his promise could be Gardner’s worst choice.


34 thoughts on “CBO: Senate Trumpcare Bill Reduces Insured By 22 Million

  1. My bet is they do pass some amendments that "address" the issues and then pass it before the CBO can point out the amendments have no significant effect.

    The Senators who are a no at present are going through a dance to show they're "concerned" and they will "insure" it covers everyone.

    Trump wants this, the Koch brothers want this, it's going to pass.

    1. David — Trump wants a lot of things he's not going to get (and then he changes his mind anyway).

      The Koch brothers don't think the bill goes far enough, so I disagree.

      As growing opposition imperiled passage of the Senate version of the healthcare bill, leaders of the conservative Koch network voiced sharp criticism of the legislation at their donor retreat here — stating that the bill needed dramatic changes before they would support it.

  2. The "bad" news is that 22 million lose health insurance coverage.  The good news is that they reduced taxes paid by those earning over $250,000 by about $800 billion. Actually, sounds more like a win/win for the GOP!!

    I wonder if the Dems can possibly find a way to send out a cogent message tarring the GOP with this monstrosity. 

    1. If there aren't 30 second sports of sad looking retirees, solemn looking steel workers and sick children with the text "REPUBLICANS took your healthcare so that they could give the rich ANOTHER tax cut" plastered over the screen every commercial break from here until November 2018, then I don't know what the Democrats are doing anymore.

    2. The bill, as it stands, wont pass. So the tar will be applied to Obama Care. Good luck to those middle income Americans who are on Obama Care. Your health care insurance will be more than you house payment. In many cases it already is. Take heart and shout to the world the benefits of income redistribution.

      1. Trump owns problems with the ACA now, too. By threatening the Cost Reduction Subsidies and only guaranteeing insurers on a month-to-month basis, Trump is now responsible for much of the instability in the exchange marketplace.

  3. Where's Bennet?

    You haven't printed Michael Bennet's statement condemning his colleagues for their subterfuge of the democratic process and the blatant lies to their constituents. 

    did you change email addresses on him? Maybe his teletype machine is in the shop? 

    1. Hey.  If you don't have a Netflix subscription get one.  You can binge watch House of Cards and a whole bnch of other shows.  Better way to use your time.

      1. thanks for that…… have NF, but afraid to make the leap to HoC. I'm actually on an "Oh, Hello" youtube binge that has had me laughing for days.

        And one final shot at His Dearness: now I know why he has such a deep and abiding respect for senate decorum: if it weren't for that decorum his colleagues would laugh his ass right out of the chamber every time he opened his mouth and spouted one of these silly ideas he has. 

    2. Zap, what is wrong with the "no hearing, no vote" bill you linked to? Why is that cowardice? What is it you want Bennet to do? He comes on at 8:13 in this linked video. Face it, our senior senator is not the most charismatic or dynamic speaker. Both Senators speaking before him were more moving in their rhetoric. But I didn't disagree with anything Bennet said about keeping sanctions on russia, about keeping press access to hearings, about what he heard from his constituents, about the CBO scoring showing 23 million losing insurance,.

      Mind, I didn't vote for the guy, although if I had known that doofus Darryl Glenn would get within 6 points of him, I would have, in a heartbeat. Bennet has heard from me plenty – in person, via email, via phone call.

      What do you want Polsters to do?  If it's to keep pushing Bennet on this, well yeah, of course. That's what Indivisible is doing – all 100 Senators are on the call list, no passes for anyone. Indivisible is asking Democratic senators to "resist by procedure – filibuster by amendment".  That is what we need to be asking Bennet to do. Just calling him a "coward"  on here – well, it accomplishes nothing except to annoy people. Maybe that's all  you want to do, but I expect you want to stop this bloody travesty of a "wealthcare bill".

      Just a suggestion – next time you post a critique of Bennet, say what it is you think he's doing wrong, what you want him to do instead, and include his contact info. Here it is, for both Senators, again:

      Senator Bennet: Contact Us

      Senator Gardner: Contact Cory*



        1. mj, you kick ass. If only Miley could. I'll try to peace together some positive actions Bennet could take – but will never take – so as to make for a more substantial discussion. 

          Tempted to write a diary, but I know where that will end up. 

        1. Wealthcare – it's what's on the agenda.

          You have my permission to use it anytime you talk about the Senate Replacement whatever. It's the Wealthcare bill.

          Someone on Facebook – may have been Vic Meyers or Bob Seay – came up with that.

  4. A bloody, painful, drawn-out, horrifying political DEATH to the profoundly corrupt, Godless, soulless, heartless, conscienceless GOP Billionaire Preservation and WealthCare Act!

    And may it completely DESTROY every one of their miserable, heinous, anti-American careers, and bring a major pox on each and every one of their houses!

    Oh, and Jesus called. He intends to pop every one of you immoral right-wing bastards in your fat mouths before you eventually board that deep-south bound escalator to Hell.

  5. Cory Gardner will be a yes vote. By destroying the balance of the ACA, TrumpCare will ensure that insurance markets can raise rates to ensure stability. And by hacking off Medicaid coverage without reducing Medicaid taxes, Medixaid will surely be more sustainable. That's what he wanted…

    Of course, all that work a notably conservative rural Republican state legislator spent this year to ensure that rural hospitals in his district wouldn't collapse… that work is meaningless with Gardner's committee output. Republican NoCare will leave rural constituents dead in the water with no local options at all.

      1. At this point, I suspect he's hoping the bill doesn't get to a vote so he can continue to play both sides of the divided GOP, or if it does, McConnell knows it won't get enough, so Gardner gets a pass to pretend to represent a Purple state

        1. Well, the bill was supposed to have a vote by mid next week, so I sincerely expect Sen. Gardner will have a definitive "yes" or "no" before the original scheduled vote. Heck, I'd even take a "this needs to go to committee for further hearings" from him.

              1. they're supposed to vote to start debate tomorrow but with at least 51 votes opposed (46 Dems, 2 indies, Heller, Collins and RuPaul), it's not likely to happen.

                Gee, didn't that GOP tell us for some many years: We can't repeal it unless we get a Republican Senate! We can't do it unless we get a Republican president!

                Apparently they can't do it because even their own members don't want to.

                If he's done giving Cory Gardner his tongue bath, maybe Moldy will explain to us what the problem is this time…..

  6. Paul Waldman at the Washington Post. I think he has it right.

    1. Don't believe hard-line conservatives who say they might vote no.

    2. Don't count on "moderates" to do the right thing.

    3. Only Republican Senator's fear will defeat the bill–and their fear depends on the volume and intensity of the opposition.

    4. There counld be a tipping point in the opposition–but we are not there yet.

    5. The next three days is the end game.

    So keep up the pressure!


  7. I think we can count on Collins and Heller.  The Visigoths will come on board in the end.   We need one more moderate to defeat this monster.

    1. That might be Murkowski. Alaska's looking a bit tight these days with the oil glut. I think McConnell had originally counted her "out" of his vote total. Heller's a new twist, because he's facing a strong challenge next year. Jeff Flake of Arizona is the other election-based target Democrats might be able to pick off.

      You'd think that our own slippery Senator might consider getting off of this nightmare of a ride, but he seems firmly hitched to the horse despite any complaints you think you hear.

      And I'm not entirely sure Cruz or Paul will come around without adding even more pain to the bill. Even then, who knows…

      1. I wouldn't count on Murkowski. They've been trying to get her on board with lots of $$$.

        Taking a page from the Dems – remember the Corn Husker Kickback and the Louisiana Purchase – Yertle is offering funding under the ruse of an amendment which would be applicable only to states with a population density which would essentially only apply to Alaska.

        It's possible Rob Portman might do the right thing, especially if his buddy, Kasich leans on him.

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