Ryan says to send health bill to Senate after CBO score

By Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will send its healthcare overhaul plan passed this month to the Senate after it receives a final analysis by congressional reviewers, probably in a couple of weeks, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Friday.

Ryan said in a radio interview that the delay was “out of an abundance of caution” until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases its findings on the legislation’s costs and its impact on health insurance coverage.

The CBO’s analysis, or “score,” is expected late Wednesday, taking into account final changes to the bill before it passed the Republican-led House earlier this month.

“We are just basically being overly cautious, but there’s really kind of a non-issue here,” Ryan told the syndicated Hugh Hewitt radio show. “We’re moving it over to the Senate probably in a couple of weeks.”

Republicans are eager to make good on their campaign promise to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.

Their plan narrowly passed the House on May 4 despite clashes within the Republican Party between hard-line and more moderate members. Ryan dismissed the likelihood that the new CBO score could force another vote in the House.

The measure still faces a potentially steep climb in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrower majority. Senate Republican leaders have formed a Republican working group, but it is unclear how much of the House bill they will accept. Some senators in both parties have vowed to start from scratch.

“What we’ve had so far is a debacle on healthcare,” Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate finance committee, said Friday in an interview with Reuters. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Wyden said he was wary of a Senate bipartisan group that is also working on healthcare. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy, who have proposed letting states…

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