The Congressional Budget Office is a federal agency within the legislative branch of the United States government that provides budget and economic information to Congress.The CBO was created as a nonpartisan agency by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Wikipedia.
News Article | May 25, 2017
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bread for the World is alarmed that 23 million people, including 14 million on Medicaid, would lose health insurance coverage under the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House of Representatives on May 4. The new estimate was recently released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), weeks after the AHCA was passed. This will only serve to increase hunger and poverty in the United States, which already has the highest number of hungry and poor people among the world’s richest countries. “The American Health Care Act would have a devastating impact on working families, driving many deeper into hunger and poverty,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Without health insurance, people must often choose between putting food on the table and receiving the medical care they need.” The AHCA is the first step in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The CBO found that the AHCA will cut $834 billion from Medicaid over 10 years, which will cause 14 million Americans to lose coverage. The score does not take into account the additional $610 billion President Trump proposes to cut from Medicaid in the fiscal year 2018 budget The White House released on Tuesday. Restructuring Medicaid, a program that covers over 70 million people, and ending the Medicaid expansion will put affordable health care coverage out of reach for millions of Americans. More than one-third of all U.S. children rely on Medicaid for their health care, and almost half of Medicaid recipients are children. The AHCA would also cut subsidies that have made it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance, dramatically raising costs for poor people and senior citizens. Before Obamacare, 1 in 3 Americans with chronic medical conditions had to choose between paying for medical treatment and purchasing food for their family. “The AHCA, combined with President Trump’s proposed budget, would be a double whammy for struggling families,” Beckmann said. “The president has broken his promise not to cut Medicaid, and 14 million Americans will pay the price.” Bread for the World (www.bread.org) is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
News Article | May 24, 2017
GOP Health Plan Would Leave 23 Million More Uninsured, Budget Office Says The revised Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will leave 23 million more people uninsured in 2026 than if that act, also known as Obamacare, were to remain in place. The GOP bill would also reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years. That's what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Wednesday in its latest score of the American Health Care Act. The CBO's assessment shows that the deficit would fall and premiums would fall for some Americans, but the report also raises potential concerns about the bill. The agency reports that the bill could destabilize individual insurance markets in some states, leaving unhealthy Americans unable to buy insurance. The bill will now move on to the Senate, and should it pass that chamber, it will not look like this current AHCA version. As NPR's Susan Davis reported Wednesday, the Senate is likely to write its own version of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also told Reuters he doesn't know what that path to passing the bill will look like. "I don't know how we get to 50 [votes] at the moment. But that's the goal," he said. The $119 billion deficit reduction represents a decline from previous versions. When the CBO first scored the AHCA, it said the plan would save $337 billion over 10 years. Later revisions reduced those savings to $150 billion. By far the biggest savings would come from Medicaid, which serves low-income Americans. That program would face $834 billion in cuts. Cutbacks in subsidies for individual health insurance would likewise help cut $276 billion. But those are offset in large part by bigger costs, including the repeal of many of Obamacare's taxes. Those tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the highest-income Americans, the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank, reported on Wednesday. The increase in the number of uninsured is also slightly lower than in the CBO's initial estimate. That report estimated that 24 million fewer would be insured in 2026 if this bill were to become law, putting the uninsured rate at around 18.6 percent. This revised bill would reduce that by around 1 million — a difference of less than half a percentage point. In contrast, the uninsured rate in 2026 would be around 10 percent under Obamacare, the CBO reports. More than half of that increase in the uninsured — 14 million — would come from reduced Medicaid enrollment. The CBO also notes that the AHCA could mean some Americans would buy policies that don't cover "major medical risks." Because of those policies' skimpy coverage, the CBO doesn't count those people as insured in this report. The Trump administration responded by saying it believes the CBO's numbers are unreliable. "History has proven the CBO to be totally incapable of accurately predicting how healthcare legislation will impact health insurance coverage," the White House said in a statement. The CBO did indeed far overestimate the number of people who would sign up for the Obamacare exchanges, as FactCheck.org's Brooks Jackson wrote in March. Likewise, it undershot on the number of Medicaid enrollees. (That said, Jackson added, the CBO predicted the uninsured rate relatively closely.) Difficulties for some addicted, pregnant or sick Americans The act could make obtaining health care coverage prohibitively expensive for some sicker Americans, the CBO found. That's because under the AHCA, states could get waivers exempting them from some Obamacare provisions, including what are called essential health benefits — a list of basics like mental health and prescription drugs that the Affordable Care Act required plans to cover. States could also get waivers that allow insurers to charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. One challenge the CBO faced in creating these estimates was figuring out how many states would get those waivers, and the report acknowledges that this creates some uncertainty in the estimates. In the end, it estimated that around one-sixth of the population lives in states that would seek both of those waivers. Around half of Americans live in states that would seek no waivers, meanwhile, and the remainder live in states that would make "moderate" changes. In states that obtained both of those waivers, it would mean lower premiums for people buying individual insurance. But less healthy Americans in those states could face "extremely high premiums," the report said. "Over time, it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly," the CBO wrote. Waiving essential health benefits could also make medical care much more expensive for people who are pregnant, addicted or have other mental health issues and who live in those states that waive those benefits. "In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the nongroup enrollees who would use those services," the report says of people living in those states. Under current law, the CBO wrote, the markets will be "stable in most areas" because lower-income Americans buying individual insurance will be shielded from rising Obamacare premiums, thanks to subsidies. However, the report acknowledges that insurers have reduced their participation in the exchanges, leaving some Americans with no options for buying insurance. "The Affordable Care Act doesn't have a back-up plan for this situation," as Vox's Sarah Kliff and Sarah Frostenson reported Wednesday, so it's not clear how this could play out. Medicaid accounts for by far the biggest spending reductions under the American Health Care Act. The bill would roll back the Medicaid expansion instituted under the Affordable Care Act, which extended the program to cover some Americans with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line. That expansion increased enrollment by 10 million, as NPR's Alison Kodjak previously reported. Rolling back that expansion would limit future enrollments. The AHCA would also give states a choice: Receive Medicaid funding via either a block grant or a per capita amount per enrollee. Together, these changes would create major cuts in enrollment for the program: 14 million fewer people by 2026, and $834 billion in spending cuts over a decade. Average premiums would be lower in 2026 than they would be under Obamacare, both in states that do and that don't seek waivers. But it's impossible to make a meaningful blanket statement about how premiums would change under this bill, as those changes differ vastly for different groups of people. For example, older Americans who make little money and buy individual insurance would see their premiums climb far beyond what they would be under Obamacare. A 64-year-old making $26,500 would pay $1,700 in premiums annually under Obamacare. In a state making those "moderate" changes to its market, that 64-year-old would pay $13,600, and in a state with no waivers, the cost would be $16,100. That's more than nine times that person's premium under the Affordable Care Act. However, younger Americans would see little change in their premiums, or even declines. Likewise, some people with higher incomes could see substantially lower premiums under this bill. For example, a 40-year-old paying $6,500 a year under current law could pay an estimated $2,100 in a state with "moderate changes" to its market. The bill moves on to the Senate The CBO's newly estimated deficit savings mean the bill can safely move on to the Senate. The future of the bill hinged upon this report, as House Republicans passed their most recent version of the bill without waiting for the CBO to report its estimated price tag. Three weeks after passing the bill, however, they have not sent the bill on to the Senate yet, because they were waiting on this score. Budget rules dictate that if the bill's deficit savings had not reached $2 billion (and that $2 billion had to come from particular spending categories), the bill would be dead upon arrival.
News Article | May 24, 2017
We preview the upcoming Congressional Budget Office analysis of Republicans' health care legislation. The CBO is scheduled to release the update Wednesday afternoon.
News Article | May 9, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters on following a policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barely two days into crafting a new bill to roll back Obamacare, U.S. Senate Republicans were already on the defensive on Tuesday over the absence of any women in their core working group. After a meeting of the Senate healthcare group, lawmakers were bombarded with questions as to why no women were named to the 13-man panel. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to explain. "The working group that counts is all 52 of us," McConnell told reporters, referring to all 52 Republican senators in the 100-member chamber. "Nobody is being excluded based upon gender ... Everybody's at the table. Everybody." Democrats pounced. Republican men are negotiating "a secret healthcare plan, which I really hope is not happening in the men's locker room," said Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership from Washington state. If the criticism was any sign of what lies ahead as senators try to improve on a rollback bill passed on Thursday by House of Representatives Republicans, it could be a long road ahead. Dismantling the parts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law that they dislike and preserving other parts of it is proving to be a difficult task for President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans. A House of Representatives’ plan for doing that, approved last week amid much drama, faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Some Republicans eye drafting a similar Senate bill by mid-summer, possibly with the involvement of Democrats. Others indicate the House bill requires major surgery and that the effort to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, could take months. Regardless of timing, two decisive factors will come into sharper focus soon. One is voter reaction to the House bill, now being voiced in town hall events being hosted nationwide by House members in their home districts. The other factor is an expected analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office of how many million Americans would lose their health insurance coverage under the House bill, if it became law, and how it would affect the U.S. budget deficit. Both the CBO analysis and the town hall events have the potential to do damage to the House legislation, which Trump hailed as a triumph just days ago. Senators are already talking about major changes in the House bill concerning Medicaid, the government healthcare program for the poor, and tax subsidies for healthcare coverage. Trying to get past the controversy over the absence of women on the healthcare panel, Senate Republicans said they expected to devote much time to healthcare in the near future. "I don't think we're going to be talking about much else other than healthcare at least three days a week with all members of our conference present," said Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican. Cornyn said senators would start with the House bill. "If we have to make modifications in order to pass it, we’ll make those modifications and work out the differences with the House." Medicaid was the topic at the Senate working group meeting Tuesday. The House bill would cut federal spending on Medicaid by $880 billion over 10 years. But some Republicans want any reductions to be more gradual, and Trump made a campaign pledge not to cut the program. "There ought to be a glide path where you do not have a cliff that the House provides in 2020," when the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare is abruptly ended, said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. But other Republicans said cutbacks were important to save taxpayer money. "The public wants every dime you can give them. Let's face it, once you get them on the dole, they are going to take every dime they can. We've got to find some way of getting things under control, or this country and your future’s going to be gone," said Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the healthcare working group.
News Article | May 11, 2017
New legislation passed in the House to repeal and replace Obamacare puts access to health care for the sickest, poorest, and even older Americans on Medicare at risk, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Says TSCL’s Medicare and Social Security policy analyst, Mary Johnson, “The GOP’s American Health Care Act: “The Senior Citizens League strongly opposes this effort to overturn Americans’ access to health care,” Johnson asserts. It’s important for the public to understand how the bill would increase costs and affect access to health care. The May 4th House vote took place less than 24 hours after the revised bill was posted, and without the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the new bill. “Meaning that House GOP Members voted without having adequate time to review the bill, knowing the full cost of the legislation or how the new changes in the bill would impact coverage for their own constituents,” Johnson points out. “The public has a right to know that information prior to our elected lawmakers enacting legislation.” According to a March analysis of an earlier version of the bill by the CBO, the legislation would restructure Medicaid safety net by capping costs. “This would have a profound impact on low-income Medicare beneficiaries,” Johnson says. About 1 in 5 people on Medicare, 11 million beneficiaries in all, have incomes so low that they qualify for Medicaid, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The public frequently confuses the two programs. Like Social Security, people become eligible for Medicare based on payroll tax withholdings from their earnings. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on low income. Medicaid is a combined state and federal program, in which the federal government pays roughly 60% of program costs for all whose income is low enough to qualify under current law. The new House law would end the open-ended nature of funding and cap per person costs, adjusting reimbursements for inflation using the consumer price index. “Medicaid plays an essential role for both low-income older Americans and middle-income seniors made poor by their health care costs,” Johnson notes. Medicaid benefits can include paying premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Part B coverage. It is also the primary payer of costs not covered by Medicare, including nursing home care. The CBO estimated that, the American Health Care Act, introduced in March, would cut federal spending on Medicaid by nearly $880 billion over the 2017 – 2026 period. The CBO estimated that, by 2026, Medicaid spending would be about 25 percent less than projected under current law, yet Medicaid spending growth would exceed the rate of growth of the inflation adjustment. “With costs growing faster than reimbursements, states would have to come up with the money in some other way or be forced to cut services, restrict eligibility for enrollment or otherwise ration care,” says Johnson.” The American Health Care Act will go next to the Senate. TSCL strongly opposes this legislation and is urging older Americans to contact their Members of Congress. To learn more, visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org. With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.
News Article | May 11, 2017
Constituents heckle and boo Tom MacArthur, calling him a ‘killer’ as 500 people gather for New Jersey event: ‘I don’t think I’ll vote for him again’ Tom MacArthur, the New Jersey congressman who has been celebrated in conservative circles for helping pass the Republican healthcare bill, came back down to earth with a bang on Wednesday night when he was booed, heckled and generally chastised during a nearly five-hour town hall meeting. In Willingboro, hundreds showed up to lambast MacArthur, most fuelled by their congressman’s intervention to revive the ailing American Health Care Act (AHCA). MacArthur was branded a “weasel”, a “killer” and an “idiot” by constituents angry at his amendment to the bill, which would allow states to opt out of rules that protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from being charged more for healthcare coverage. This stipulation proved enough to satisfy the hard-right Freedom Caucus and the bill – which would probably see millions of Americans lose their healthcare coverage – passed the House on 4 May. The majority of Republicans who voted for the bill are not holding public events this week, despite being on recess. Those who have dared face voters have been pilloried. Aware of this, MacArthur kicked off his town hall at 6.30pm with a promise to respond to every single question, for “as long as it goes”. He was still being quizzed by angry residents at 11.20pm. More than 500 people had gathered outside the Kennedy Center in Willingboro, just across the Delaware river from Philadelphia. It was a lively and loud scene, a number of voters chanting, waving signs and generally causing a ruckus. “Our health matters more than Tom’s net worth,” one banner read. A sign showed a picture of MacArthur with “I took your healthcare” written on his forehead. Another described MacArthur, a former insurance executive who was elected in 2014, as “MacWeasel”. Claudia Storicks, a former nurse who has been on disability for the past two years, had travelled from Pemberton, New Jersey. She has diabetes and charcot foot – a weakening of the bones caused by nerve damage – and was using an electric scooter. She is insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration legislation the AHCA seeks to replace. “It was the only insurance that I could afford,” she said. “I’ve been able to afford my medication and my doctor’s visits because I’m on the ACA. Otherwise I probably would have lost my house and my foot.” Storicks voted for MacArthur in 2016 – “he’s a businessman and I thought he had a good sense about taxes,” she said – but now described herself as “very angry” at the prospect of the ACA being repealed. “That would mean that my diabetes would get out of control, my foot would probably get worse, and I’d probably end up in hospital and losing my house.” Medford, New Jersey, resident Jay Wilder, 72, was first in line. He arrived six hours early. “I’m really worried about pre-existing conditions because I dealt with it when I was going from my job before I had Medicare,” he said. Wilder had had a heart attack and said he couldn’t afford healthcare. “I just lived without healthcare, hoping that nothing would happen. It was very difficult because when you’re 64 years old you start having health issues.” The anger outside the venue set the tone for the event itself. MacArthur walked out to Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars, and to a similarly tepid round of applause from the 250 people who had made it inside. The congressman smiled and offered his hand to a man wearing a green shirt, sitting in the front row. The man kept his arms folded and thrust his head away. The four hours and 50 minutes that followed were no less hostile. MacArthur had asked constituents not to boo him but that proved to be in vain. People repeatedly told him he had “blood” on his hands. A man who had received a kidney transplant feared what would happen to people like him under the AHCA. A resident whose wife had recovered from breast cancer was concerned that she would “always have a pre-existing condition” and did not want that to determine which state she lived in. A woman had brought her two young children, one of whom had learning difficulties, and objected to them potentially being placed in a “high-risk pool” – an aspect of MacArthur’s amendment designed to assist people with pre-existing conditions, but which could lead to higher health insurance costs. MacArthur’s responses – that only 7% of Americans were in the individual market, that people would not lose their insurance (the Congressional Budget Office, in its assessment of an earlier version of the bill, said 24 million would probably do so), and that “there are loads of other people who don’t agree with you” – did not placate the crowd. Nor did his response to repeated chants calling for single-payer healthcare. “Government bureaucrats can be very dangerous when they have power” to make decisions on people’s health, MacArthur said, prompting one woman to tell the congressman she would prefer that scenario than “someone in an office” of an insurance company making the same decisions. Just 14 of the 217 Republicans who voted in favor of the AHCA are holding public events this week. Those who have ventured out have not been warmly received. On Monday, Rod Blum of Iowa walked out of an interview with a local television station and was then roundly booed at an event in Dubuque. On Tuesday, David Brat, a congressman from Virginia, was jeered and booed at a town hall in Midlothian, near Richmond. Constituents waved red signs that said “shame” and “nope”, a gesture suggested by the progressive Indivisible organization, which aims to use Tea Party-esque, assertive tactics to oust Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections. Charlene Thompson, a Brat constituent, said she cried when the House approved the AHCA. “Something was awoke in me,” she said. “I just gave birth last summer. I fought long and hard to have that guy and to think that I would be considered a pre-existing is just awful.” In New Jersey on Wednesday, people began to quietly leave the MacArthur town hall at about 9.30pm. But at least 25 stayed until the bitter end. Storicks, who sat patiently in her scooter for hours, was one of the last people to speak. She told the congressman about how she relied on the ACA for medication related to her illnesses. Storicks said she would suffer under the Republican plan “because I was born with bad genes”. MacArthur stuck to the answer he had given all night: that high-risk pools would actually protect people like Storicks, and that people would not have to pay more due to a pre-existing condition – claims which are heavily disputed by health experts. “I get he’s an insurance man and he’s coming at this from an insurance and business perspective and it’s all about profits and minimizing costs,” she said, “but I’m frustrated because I don’t think he’s really of a mind to change his opinions. “But next year the public will have a chance to speak. And I don’t think I’m going to vote for him again.”
News Article | May 9, 2017
Members of Congress who voted for the controversial plan will be met by activists on the left, who are attempting to save the Affordable Care Act As House Republicans return to their districts after approving a controversial plan to dramatically reshape the country’s healthcare system, activists on the left are mobilizing at town halls in an effort to save the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that extended coverage to millions of Americans. At a meeting in Lewiston on Friday, a woman challenged Raúl Labrador, a Republican congressman from Idaho and a member the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, over his support for the Republican healthcare bill. “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” she said. Labrador replied: “That line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don’t have access to healthcare.” (In a later statement, the Idaho conservative conceded that his comment “wasn’t very elegant” and argued that it had been taken out of context.) The activism drew more testy exchanges in upstate New York, where Tom Reed, a Republican congressman, defended his decision to support the Republican healthcare plan against boos and jeers from angry crowds at his three town halls on Saturday. At a firehouse in Busti, New York, a man told Reed that he had recently donated a kidney, which he said was considered a pre-existing condition. “Now that I have a pre-existing condition, my cost of healthcare could go up significantly or I could lose health care,” the man said, according to ABC News. With the House on recess until 16 May, activists are planning similarly furious receptions for the handful of Republican lawmakers who are scheduled to hold town halls in their home districts. Activists are specifically targeting congressional Republicans who supported the unpopular healthcare plan. Of the 217 Republicans who voted for the plan, just 14 will hold town halls during the recess, according to the scheduled of events compiled by TownHallProject.com. While it is hard to predict which ones will draw fireworks, a few seem likely prospects. Rod Blum, an Iowa Republican whose district voted for Obama twice before tipping for Trump last year, is holding a series of three town halls this week. On Monday, Blum walked out of an interview with a local TV channel after the journalist asked him why his staff was screening attendees to his town halls. Hours later, Blum, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, faced boos and jeers from a crowd as he struggled over the din to explain why he voted for the healthcare plan. Congressman Jeff Denham, who was one of 14 California Republicans who voted for the GOP healthcare plan, will hold a coffeehouse meeting on Tuesday. But perhaps no town hall will be watched as closely as the one with Tom MacArthur, a moderate Republican congressman who helped craft a compromise amendment that ensured support from conservatives. The New Jersey lawmaker represents a district that voted for Obama twice and only narrowly swung for Trump in 2016. MacArthur told reporters that he expected to encounter angry constituents at his town hall but would “relish” the opportunity to correct what he views as misconceptions about what the healthcare plan would do. MacArthur’s provision, which was crucial to passing the bill, was hammered out behind closed doors. No public hearings were held on the bill after the addition of the provision, which was made public hours before the House approved it. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is due to analyze how much it would cost and how many people might lose coverage if the plan takes effect, perhaps as early as this week. The agency’s analysis of the initial proposal found that 24 million people would lose health coverage over the next decade. And with the bill heading to the Senate, activists hope that the Republicans taking it up next see that there is a political cost to supporting a measure that could strip healthcare from millions. Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers have routinely faced the wave of backlash from the so-called “resistance”, a coalition of liberal groups and activists opposed to the president’s agenda. For months, protesters – many of whom are first-time political activists – have packed Republican town halls, rallied outside GOP offices and filled lawmakers’ voicemails in an urgent attempt to save the Affordable Care Act. The liberal resistance has vowed to hold Republicans who supported the healthcare bill to account by voting them out of office in the 2018 midterms. But Republicans have scoffed at that notion, arguing that they voted to fulfill a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said Republicans had no reason to duck constituents – rather, they should welcome the opportunity to engage with them after delivering on a seven-year campaign promise. “I’d be ecstatic about going back and saying, ‘Look, here is what we did. Here is the process. Was it ugly? Yeah. But did we get it done? Did we follow through on a promise to repeal in the House? Yes,’” Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, told CBS’ Face the Nation. “No, I think it would be something that Republicans should run to, not run away from.”
News Article | May 9, 2017
Another day, another contentious town hall for a Republican congressman. In Dubuque, Iowa, on Monday, Republican Rep. Rod Blum faced pointed questions from constituents angry about his yes vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Blum, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, initially opposed the GOP plan, but wound up voting for the updated legislation, which narrowly passed on Thursday without receiving a score from the Congressional Budget Office. “You voted for this bill in a rush,” one woman said. “There were no committee hearings. This is my life. The Congressional Budget Office didn’t score this bill. … What was the rush?” “I have always said the process was bad,” Blum said. “It was rushed. There should have been hearings.” Blum insisted that the current version of the health care bill — now in the Senate — is “better than what we have” and is “heading in the right direction.” The argument drew boos from the audience. As the boos grew louder, Blum turned to an aide and said, “Nobody’s listening.” Related: GOP rep: ‘Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care’ According to the Washington Post, Blum was just one of 14 House Republicans who voted for the bill to schedule a town hall this week. (A total of 217, all Republicans, voted for the legislation.) Earlier Monday, Blum abruptly walked out of an interview with a local television station at a community center when a reporter asked why he was requiring town hall attendees to show their identification to be admitted. “This is ridiculous,” Blum said as he left the room, which was filled with schoolchildren. “He’s just going to sit here and badger me.” Blum later said he was “ambushed” by the reporter, KCRG-TV’s Josh Scheinblum. But Scheinblum tweeted that he had informed Blum’s staff of his intentions weeks ahead of time. On Friday, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was booed during a town hall when he claimed, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” while defending his vote for the GOP bill. Over the weekend, Labrador conceded the quip “wasn’t very elegant.”
Pelech D.,Congressional Budget Office
Journal of Health Economics | Year: 2017
This paper explores how provider and insurer market power affect which markets an insurer chooses to operate in. A 2011 policy change required that certain private insurance plans in Medicare form provider networks de novo; in response, insurers cancelled two-thirds of the affected plans. Using detailed data on pre-policy provider and insurer market structure, I compare markets where insurers built networks to those they exited. Overall, insurers in the most concentrated hospital and physician markets were 9 and 13 percentage points more likely to exit, respectively, than those in the least concentrated markets. Conversely, insurers with more market power were less likely to exit than those with less, and an insurer's market power had the largest effect on exit in concentrated hospital markets. These findings suggest that concentrated provider markets contribute to insurer exit and that insurers with less market power have more difficulty surviving in concentrated provider markets. © 2017
Stocking A.,Congressional Budget Office
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management | Year: 2012
Price controls established in a cap-and-trade allowance market are intended to reduce cost uncertainty by constraining allowance prices between a ceiling and floor; however, they could provide opportunities for strategic actions by firms that would lower government revenue and increase emissions. In particular, when the ceiling price is supported by introducing new allowances into the market, firms could choose to buy allowances at the ceiling price, regardless of the prevailing market price, in order to lower the equilibrium price of all allowances. Those purchases could either be transacted by firms intending to manipulate the market price or be induced through the introduction of inaccurate information about the cost of emissions abatement. Theory and simulations using allowance elasticity estimates for U.S. firms suggest that the manipulation could be profitable under the stylized setting and assumptions evaluated in the paper, although in practice many other conditions will determine its use. © 2011 .