WASHINGTON — The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is likely to say this week that the Senate health care bill would result in millions fewer Americans having health insurance, potentially foiling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to rush the sweeping legislation to the floor before July 4.
The CBO previously ignited a firestorm when it predicted that the House’s version of health care reform would result in 23 million fewer Americans having health insurance in 2026 compared to current law. That report was released after the House voted for the legislation. A report on the Senate Republicans’ legislation could come as early as Monday.
Health care experts from across the political spectrum told Yahoo News they believe that the Senate version of the bill would result in slightly less catastrophic coverage numbers, but they still expect the CBO to predict widespread coverage loss.
“I’d expect coverage to be 18-20 million fewer than [under Obamacare],” said Avik Roy, a conservative health care policy analyst who supports the Senate bill. Roy added that he “strongly” disagrees with that projection, and that he would score the legislation differently than the CBO.
Gary Claxton, the director of the health care marketplace program at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, said he believed the CBO would predict “15 or more million” would lose coverage.
The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, estimated in one analysis that between 15 million and 23 million people would lose coverage under the Senate plan. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton touted that estimate on Twitter, writing: “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.”
Such predictions are likely to spook undecided key Senate moderates such as Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who have said the CBO’s uninsured numbers will be important in how they decide whether to support the bill or…