Feb 24, 2017 - Health

Obamacare repeal is getting bad news from the number crunchers

Keith Cooper / via Flickr Creative Commons

It's become pretty obvious that Obamacare repeal isn't moving ahead — with no committee action scheduled yet for next week — and now we're getting a better idea why.

The Washington Post posted a piece this morning about how House Republicans want to steer away from Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid without hurting the states. Most of the details — keeping some money flowing to the expansion states, helping the non-expansion states with extra payments for the poor and uninsured — have been floated before. But the bigger news starts in the 11th paragraph: The Congressional Budget Office says the new, age-based tax credits, another part of the replacement plan, "would cost the government a lot of money and would enable relatively few additional Americans to get insurance."

Between the lines: This tracks with what we've heard unofficially through other sources, and suggests that Republicans are having trouble designing their plan in a way that would get acceptable cost estimates. That doesn't mean they can't tinker with the plan until they get better CBO estimates — Democrats did a lot of that during the writing of Obamacare. But it does mean the plan probably won't be ready quickly enough to meet the Republicans' ambitious timeline.

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