The Department of Health and Human Services does a great number of things, but providing authoritative analysis of legislation isn’t usually one of them.
That task is left instead to the Congressional Budget Office, the independent agency lawmakers typically rely on to score each and every bill. Yet when it comes to health care, Republicans seem willing to put their trust in the evaluation that’s best for them, regardless of who prepared it—and dismiss assessments that will only make Obamacare repeal harder.
As the prospects for passing a repeal-and-replace law have grown dimmer over recent weeks, Republicans have increasingly divorced themselves from the CBO, which has repeatedly assigned negative scores to the party’s plans. Instead, the GOP has opted for a much more insulated approach to mathematics. Most recently, lawmakers seized on a “preliminary draft” of HHS’s appraisal of a controversial amendment to the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act.
The amendment in question is one proposed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. It would allow Obamacare insurers to provide additional plans off of the exchanges that would also qualify for tax credits and wouldn’t have to comply with Obamacare regulations. Insurance-industry predictions have found that those provisions—along with the BCRA’s base measures that allow less comprehensive plans, repeal the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion, and provide less generous tax credits—would essentially splinter Obamacare risk pools and create the conditions for a “death spiral.”
Their suspicions have yet to be confirmed by the CBO, because the Cruz amendment was left out of its most recent score of the BCRA. Although the amendment was submitted for a score last week, the agency needs more time to evaluate it, thanks to both the substantial changes it’d make to the way exchanges work, and the sophisticated simulations those changes would entail. But Senate Republicans—facing defections …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics