House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears to have changed her mind when it comes to transparency, calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to release all of the information about the House GOP’s American Health Care Act so voters can see the “full impact” of the Obamacare replacement bill.
As speaker of the House in 2010, when former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was being debated, Pelosi famously declared: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Pelosi, according to a Politico report at the time, was speaking to how much voters are failing to fully appreciate what would become Obama’s signature legislation. She said its passage would allow Americans to finally see the law “away from the fog of the controversy.”
Immediately, conservatives latched onto the statement and used it as evidence that the Obamacare legislation — which, according to the Washington Post, was at least 10,000 pages long — was overly and purposefully complex.
But Pelosi is now singing a different tune as Republicans try to scrap Obamacare and replace it with their own health care bill, which Ryan unveiled Monday. The bill has faced opposition from Democrats and the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
The House minority leader is calling for total transparency regarding the GOP-backed legislation:
Members must not be asked to vote on this legislation before the [Congressional Budget Office] and the Joint Committee on Taxation have answered the following questions about your legislation in 2018 and 2019, over the 10-year budget window, and in the decade after: How will this bill measure up to the Affordable Care Act and current Medicaid law on coverage, quality, and cost? And how will it impact Medicare solvency?
“These are critical questions and I hope that Republicans will honor their responsibility to the American people both before the Committees vote and before the final bill goes to the House floor,” Pelosi said.
White House leadership has cast doubt on the Congressional Budget Office’s ability to be impartial when making its judgment on the American Health Care Act.
“If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday, according to the New York Times.
And, as the Times points out, Republicans have cause for concern.
If the CBO determines the House Republicans' health care proposal would add to the deficit, it could be dead on arrival. The GOP is employing budget rules allowing them to bypass a potential Democratic filibuster in the Senate. However, that rule stipulates that the health care law must not add to deficits over the span of 10 years.
Also, the CBO could cause major political problems for the GOP by forecasting that the American Health Care Act would strip millions of Americans of health care coverage they currently receive because of Obamacare. The left-leaning Brookings Institute is expecting the CBO to estimate at least 15 million people will lose their coverage under the Republican legislation.
The CBO will likely release its analysis early next week.