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CBO: Initial report on Graham-Cassidy bill will lack coverage, premium and deficit estimates

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), left, and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) give a news conference last week on their health-care proposal. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Congress’s nonpartisan budget analyst said it is working to provide a “preliminary assessment” of the latest Republican health-care bill by early next week but will not estimate how the measure would affect health insurance premiums or the number of people with medical coverage until later.

The notice Monday from the Congressional Budget Office angered Democrats, who planned to use the complete figures to hammer the Graham-Cassidy legislation, which is picking up steam in the Senate ahead of a possible vote within two weeks.

The bill would devolve federal health spending and policy authority to states and could cause millions to lose health insurance, a fact that might persuade pivotal Republican senators to vote against it.

What’s in the Cassidy-Graham health-care bill?

“CBO will provide as much qualitative information as possible about the effects of the legislation, however CBO will not be able to provide point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums for at least several weeks,” two CBO officials wrote in a blog post Monday.

Senate Republicans are under pressure to approve legislation that kills Obamacare before the end of the month, when the upper chamber’s ability to pass budget bills with 51 rather than 60 votes expires. The CBO announcement raised the possibility that a vote could come before the office’s complete analysis is released.