Health and Science

CBO will finally score House Obamacare bill 'early' in week of May 22

Key Points
  • Democrats had blasted Republicans for passing the bill in early May without a CBO analysis.
  • CBO had projected that 24 million more people would become uninsured under the prior version of the bill.
  • Premiums would spike sharply in the first two years, but then be lower than under Obamacare, according to an earlier CBO score of the first version of the bill.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Two weeks late might be better than never.

An estimate of the costs and impact of the Republican Obamacare replacement bill will be released nearly two weeks after that bill was passed by the House of Representatives, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO said its report on the major health-care bill will be issued "early in the week of May 22." The nonpartisan agency also said it "will provide advance notice of the date and time" of the release of the report, produced with staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

That report is expected to include estimates of how many more Americans would become uninsured under that controversial bill than if Obamacare remained in place. It also would include projections of how the legislation will affect health insurance premiums and the federal budget deficit.

The House passed that bill, known as the American Health Care Act, last Thursday by a vote of 217-213.

Democrats criticized the Republican majority in the House for holding that vote without first having the CBO issue a report on the revised bill's impact.

The forthcoming CBO's new report will factor in a major change made to the bill before the House voted on it.

That change would allow states, under certain conditions, to permit insurers to charge people with pre-existing health conditions more for insurance coverage than healthier people.

But the CBO's report might end up being moot almost as soon as it is issued.

Senators have said they are working on their own Obamacare replacement legislation. That could look much different from the House bill, and have very different effects on both the number of insured Americans and on what they pay for their coverage.

CBO, in analyzing an earlier version of the House's bill, projected that 24 million more people would become uninsured by 2026 than would be the case if the current Obamacare law remained intact.

CBO also estimated that in 2018 and 2019 average premiums for customers in the individual health insurance market would be 15 percent to 20 percent higher under the prior version of the Republican bill than they would be under current law.

But CBO found that "by 2026, average premiums for single policyholders in [that] market would be roughly 10 percent lower than under current law."

The federal deficit would be reduced by a projected $151 billion over 10 years as a result of the earlier version of the bill, according to CBO.