Health and Science

Don't expect a Seinfeld yada-yada-it-becomes-law scenario if GOP health bill advances, AEI warns

Expect a lot of changes in GOP's AHCA: Expert

Even if the House passes the GOP Obamacare replacement bill on Friday, the imperiled measure would still face a long, difficult road before becoming law, an American Enterprise Institute economic policy analyst says.

The House vote, demanded by President Donald Trump, is just the "first step" in this process, Benedic Ippolito of the conservative think tank told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "You got to pass it in the House. And then it has this, if you watch 'Seinfeld,' this element of 'yada, yada, yada' then it becomes law. There's a lot in the 'yada, yada, yada.' You have to get the Senate on board."

Senate Republicans, like their House counterparts, are just about as divided on the Republican American Health Care Act, Ippolito said. He noted that conservative Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, both of whom ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, consider the bill "Obamacare Lite," while other more moderate senators think the "coverage losses are too much."

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday said the newer version of the AHCA would result in a similar number of 24 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, but would only reduce federal spending by $150 billion over the same period. The CBO had estimated the original bill would cut the deficit by $337 billion.

Ippolito said $150 billion by 2026 in deficit reduction is "not particularly impressive." He said the GOP plan, after going through changes in the Senate, might see the federal spending benefit slip even further.

"It's unlikely that what's going to happen down the road is going to increase those deficit savings," he said. "That's just going to be one of the many hurdles that we're going to have to discuss. Are we really willing to increase the deficit potentially to kick 24 million people off insurance? That's a legitimate question to ask."