CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure

Sponsors of the bill plan to continue work on the proposal to repeal the 2010 health law

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., says the Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of his health proposal with three other GOP senators. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors.

During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected. He believes that report could help dispel some of the opposition to the legislation.

“Even that will take some understanding,” he said. “We just need to socialize it. So again when folks say something ridiculous, that that is recognized as being ridiculous.”

Cassidy took particular issue with media reports that said the legislation would drastically gut Medicaid.

While CBO said that enrollment in the entitlement program would be “substantially lower” as a result of the bill, the budget office also said a loss in health coverage could be offset from states utilizing the block grant funding model to implement systems similar to the health law’s Medicaid expansion.

Cassidy, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada, introduced last month legislation that would, among other things, essentially turn all federal funding for the health law into a massive block grant to the states.

Senate Republicans made a last-ditch attempt to try to vote on that proposal last week before the fast-track budget reconciliation procedure for fiscal 2017 expired at the end of September.

Cassidy and Graham ultimately announced after the weekly GOP policy lunch that the chamber would not hold a vote on their bill. They vowed, however, to continue to build upon it with the anticipation it could come up for a vote again in the coming months.

The budget office issued a preliminary report on a version of the legislation last week, but had said a full analysis of it could take weeks, prompting outrage from Democrats.

There were several iterations of the proposal in the span of a few days, as lawmakers tried to ease the concerns of some hesitant members, like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.