Scoring Ted Cruz's proposal indicates GOP leadership is taking the idea seriously
Not clear: Whether this proposal is enough to Mitch McConnell the 50 votes he needs
At least 10 Senate Republicans who have publicly opposed the initial draft of the bill
The proposal would allow insurers to offer cheaper, stripped down policies
Senate Republican leaders are considering an amendment from conservative GOP Sen. Ted Cruz to help revive a health care bill that currently lacks enough Republican support to pass – a move that risks alienating moderates in the party.
Senate legislation to overhaul Obamacare that was unveiled last month – together with the Cruz amendment – was submitted to the Congressional Budget Office late last week for an updated score, according to a GOP aide. The amendment would allow insurers that offer Obamacare policies to also offer cheaper, stripped-down policies unregulated by the law.
The decision to send Cruz’s proposal to the CBO indicates that leadership is considering the idea seriously enough to have it analyzed for its impact on consumers and the federal budget. However, it does not mean that the amendment will end up in the final bill, or that it will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell get the 50 “yes” votes he needs to move the legislation through his chamber.
There are currently at least 10 Senate Republicans who have publicly opposed the initial draft of the bill. With 52 Republicans in the Senate, McConnell would have to win over most of those “no” votes.
A McConnell spokesman on Thursday would not comment on what, if any, potential revisions to the health care bill have been submitted to the CBO, but noted that discussions are continuing during recess between leadership and rank-and-file members, as well as with the CBO.
The proposal could help win over a handful of conservatives who are currently opposed to the bill because they believe it doesn’t go far enough in gutting Obamacare. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, for example, would support the Senate health care bill if it included the Cruz amendment, an aide to Lee told CNN on Thursday.
The idea has also won the approval of Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative Freedom Caucus in the House, who tweeted Thursday: “When you create competition allowing people to make the best choices for themselves–prices go down. @SenTedCruz’s amendment would do that.”