GOP Senator Unveils Bill To Require Financial Reporting on ACA
On Thursday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced a bill (S 2446) that would require the Congressional Budget Office to submit annual reports to Congress with estimates on the financial ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports (Cox, "Floor Action," The Hill, 6/6).
CBO in a "little-noticed" footnote in an April report said it no longer could calculate the estimated financial effect of several provisions in the ACA. Specifically, the agency said that while it can isolate and reassess the ACA's insurance coverage provisions, it is no longer able to do the same estimations for the overall law (California Healthline, 6/5).
In a statement announcing the bill, Johnson said he understands that CBO "undoubtedly faces considerable challenges in separating the impact of the law from some of the other programs that interact with it." However, the agency "can and should be able to estimate those costs and impacts so that Congress and the American people understand the true scope of financial harm that Obamacare is causing," he said.
Johnson added that "estimates related to coverage-only provisions are inadequate for assessment of a law that touches nearly every aspect of our health care system."
As of Friday afternoon, Johnson's bill had not drawn any co-sponsors, according to CQ Roll Call (Krawzak, CQ Roll Call, 6/6). However, "Floor Action" reports Johnson previously won bipartisan support for the measure when he first introduced it as a budget resolution, which the Senate approved as part of its budget proposal in March 2013 ("Floor Action," The Hill, 6/6).
Cantor Quiet on ACA Replacement Bill
In related news, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his June policy memo did not indicate whether the House would introduce and vote on an ACA replacement bill this month, casting doubt on whether the party will endorse a proposal before the chamber's August recess, The Hill reports.
According to The Hill, Cantor discussed health care in only three sentences, directing most of the attention on issues of tax extenders, gas prices, transportation and appropriations. Although he previously has expressed his intention to introduce ACA replacement legislation, he said in his memo that House committees currently are working to "refine" policies that would better "improve patient choice, access to doctors and hospitals and lower costs" (Viebeck, The Hill, 6/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.