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Signs held at a rally in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr/cc)

Amid Republicans' ACA Subterfuge, Resistance Urges "No Score No Vote"

House committee may vote on bill before being scored by Congressional Budget Office

Andrea Germanos

House Republicans are under fire for keeping their Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement bill secret (from the public and other lawmakers) and are facing calls to wait for an official analysis that would reveal its human and financial costs.

One Republican and a handful of Democratic lawmakers were forced on Thursday to engage in a hide-and-seek for the House Energy and Commerce Committee's draft of the bill.

Among those searching for the document was Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)—with his own copy machine in tow. "This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as if it were a plot to invade another country," Rand said. "That's wrong. It should be done openly in the public. And conservatives who have objections that don't want Obamacare-lite should be able to see the bill."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for her part, declared that the committee was shielding it from view because "Republicans are too terrified of their constituents to make their plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act public." And the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), who was also leading reporters on the hunt for the bill, said, "I think they're afraid it will show that it really doesn't cover most of the people that received coverage under the Affordable Care Act."

As Bloomberg wrote Wednesday, the bill has yet to be processed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which will provide its analysis or "score."

The Hill notes Friday that

Without the CBO analysis, lawmakers would be voting on the measure without estimates of how much the legislation would cost or how many people could lose or gain insurance coverage.

"This is no way in a democracy to consider and shape legislation affecting tens of millions of people with many lives hanging in the balance," Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the Center for American Progress, writes Friday

But even without that score, "We are going to mark up the legislation next week," according to Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. "They say we'll be there all night. I'm going to bring an air mattress."

The maneuvers prompted Indivisible Guide organizers to issue a series of tweets Thursday denouncing the stealth attack and urging constituents to push back by calling on their representatives to demand a CBO score before any congressional action.

The Indivisible Guide and others on Twitter are also using the hashtag #NoSecretPlan to call for greater transparency in the Republicans' efforts to repeal the healthcare law:


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