GOP rep.: 'Terrible thing' to vote on health care without CBO score

Representative leaning toward 'yes' vote anyway

By MIRANDA GREEN , CNN
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Kentucky Rep. James Comer

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, expressed concern Thursday about the prospect of the Senate voting on a health care bill without an assessment from the Congressional Budget Office.

"We're going to have no idea how many Americans might lose insurance as a result of this. Is it responsible for senators to vote on it without knowing that?" CNN's Poppy Harlow asked Comer on "Newsroom" Thursday morning.

"I certainly wish that the Senate would get a CBO score. I think it's a terrible thing when Congress votes on a major piece of legislation without a CBO score," Comer replied.

Comer took issue with the fact that the Senate is likely to vote on the Obamacare alternative as early as next week, but the CBO is not expected to release a full score before then. Some key information, including how many people would lose coverage under the bill, won't be available in time.

The CBO is a nonpartisan government office that issues an analysis on how bills are projected to impact the public if enacted. It also offers clarity to wavering Senate Republicans on whether to vote for the bill.

Back in May, however, Comer voted for a House version of an Obamacare alternative before the CBO assessed a revised version of the legislation. The White House said at the time that it was "impossible" for the office to accurately predict factors like governors' actions and patients' conditions.

A message left with his office Thursday seeking comment on his vote was not immediately returned.

On Thursday, Comer conceded that he's likely to vote for the Senate's new health care bill if it makes it to the House.

"I am leaning toward yes, but I am disappointed we do not have a CBO score. But I am leaning yes," he said.

The proposed bill, sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, may be Republicans' last shot to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Many Republican senators seem to support the bill, released a week ago. The legislation would repeal Obamacare's individual and employer mandates and turn the federal funding for Medicaid expansion and the subsidies into a block grant program.

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