The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will evaluate the Republican’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), giving it a score.
The Trump administration hopes that the AHCA, which was narrowly passed in the House of Representatives by a majority of 217 to 213 earlier this month, will replace Obamacare.
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The CBO’s analysis will give US lawmakers a better idea of the AHCA’s cost, what it will do to the federal deficit as well as the number of Americans who could lose medical coverage if it becomes law.
Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas, said:
If they [the CBO] say more people are going to lose their insurance than the previous one, that makes it hard to pass. If they say it doesn’t save money, it may mean the House has to pass a new one.
The CBO has already scored the bill twice before, but two amendments added to the bill just before it passed through the House of Representatives earlier this month are expected to affect the current evaluation.
A previous score said that 14m Americans would lose insurance under the AHCA.
Verdict takes a look at what the CBO will be looking for when they score the AHCA bill this time round.
1. How much money will the AHCA save?
In order to pass the AHCA bill through a process known as reconciliation, which allows the Senate to approve it with just 51 votes, the measure needs to save $2bn over the next 10 years.
The savings must be divided equally — $1bn in the Senate Finance Committee and then $1bn in the Senate HELP Committee.
If the bill fails to reach the $2bn target, then it will be sent back to the House for another round of voting.
A previous CBO score found that the federal budget deficit would decrease by $150bn over the next 10 years.
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However, the changes made to the bill since then mean that savings are likely to be significantly less.
For example, under the new AHCA bill, more Americans would be eligible for federal government tax credits, costing the government more money.
2. How many people will lose healthcare coverage?
An estimated 24m would lose healthcare coverage by 2026, according to a previous CBO score of the Republican plan.
Democrats have seized on that figure to attack the bill.
The New York Times asked six healthcare experts what the new CBO score was likely to be in relation to the number of uninsured people if the AHCA becomes law.
Their estimates ranged from 20m to 25m more people without coverage.
AHCA limits federal funding for Medicaid, a government programme that covers low-income people.
Many of the 20m Americans who gained coverage under Obamacare did so through the expansion of Medicaid.
3. Will premiums go up or down?
Republicans in the House have insisted that the changes they made in the latest version of the health care bill were all aimed at lowering premiums for consumers.
However, the recent amendments, which weaken Obamacare’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions, are expected to lower premiums for healthy Americans, but increase them for the sick.
The older score noted that young people would see a drop in cost of premiums, but only at the expense of the elderly.
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