The American Health Care Act — the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare — was passed in the House Thursday without legislators knowing how many people it would cover and how much it would cost.
House Speaker Paul Ryan's office wants to tell you otherwise.
On Saturday, Ryan's spokesperson
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"AHCA was posted online a month ago, went through 4 committees, & has been scored by CBO — twice," she tweeted.
Strong's claim is
Strong's claim is only true in reference to the original draft of the health bill, which was posted in early March, went through four committee hearings — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Budget, and Rules — and was scored by the CBO, twice. But that version of the bill failed to garner enough votes and was pulled from the House floor. In the weeks that followed, House Republicans made multiple amendments to the AHCA to make it passable.
The final version, which reduces taxes but will likely put millions of people at risk of losing their health insurance — including people with preexisting conditions, older Americans, and the poor — has not yet been evaluated by the CBO. (Strong confirmed that fact to reporters last week.) The bill includes an amendment that gives states a way to opt out of key Obamacare regulations, including one that prevents people with
These amendments and negotiations, which brought the AHCA over the finish line in the House, were made through private backroom negotiations between members and the White House. They were not debated in relevant policy related committees.
Even members in Ryan's own House Republican conference, including those that helped negotiate the final bill, like North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus, have agreed that the AHCA was more of a "closed" process than they would have liked.
Commentary by Tara Golshan. Follow her on Twitter @t_golshan.
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