Republican says he'll push health deal, Trump keeps distance

Lester Mason
October 21, 2017

"Over the next two years, I think, Americans won't have to worry about the price of health (insurance) and being able to buy insurance in the counties where they live".

After almost two months of negotiations, key senators said Tuesday they have reached a bipartisan deal on a proposal meant to stabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance market, which has been rocked by recent actions by President Donald Trump.

"This is a small step", Alexander said.

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said Wednesday that he would not vote for the bill if it comes up for a vote in the Senate and that he believes Alexander-Murray has "stalled out".

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen.

It has faced resistance from conservatives in the House, who have echoed Trump's sentiment that the payments represent "bailouts" to insurers. If it becomes law, it could end a chaotic situation for insurers after the White House moved last week to dismantle parts of the Affordable Care Act even as Trump took credit for pushing lawmakers to work out the fixes.

"The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare", Doug Andres, a spokesman for Ryan, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. "The solution will be for about a year or two years and it will get us over this intermediate hump", he said. The bill would continue funding Obamacare subsidies, provide funding for the ACA's navigator and outreach programs and fund basic health plans. Centene Corp. climbed 3 percent to $93.60 at 2:56 p.m.in NY, while Molina Healthcare Inc. gained 3.2 percent to $61.78.

Alexander said Trump called him Wednesday morning and encouraged him to continue his effort, but left himself wiggle room.

But discontinuing them would actually cost the government more money under the Affordable Care Act because some people facing higher premiums would end up getting bigger tax subsidies to help pay for them.

Obstacles to the proposal are already developing in the House. Alexander also responded to Trump following his opposition on Wednesday morning, trying to reassure the president that his bill could achieve the president's goals.


Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee in the House, quickly denounced the deal.

The agreement also includes what Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called "anti-sabotage" provisions.

Aside from timing issues, congressional Democrats, who know Republicans will get the lion's share of the blame for a new Obamacare-premium crisis, aren't likely to approve a deal that undermines Obamacare.

Assuming that the deal gains Senate and House approval this would be a monumental accomplishment for Alexander and Murray at a time when bipartisan cooperation has been nonexistent.

"We think it's a good solution", he said. Details of the agreement are still being worked out, he said.

Consumers of any age would be allowed to obtain catastrophic insurance plans that typically have low monthly premiums but high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

Even if it fails to become law, the deal marks a singular achievement that has been nearly completely missing in Congress for the past eight years - a bipartisan compromise on how to make the nation's health insurance system work.

The Trump administration announced late Thursday evening that it will no longer fund Obamacare subsidies.

Funding the cost-sharing subsidies would spare insurers more than $1 billion in financial losses this year, and could let them lower premiums for 2018.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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