Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray say they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan Obamacare deal to fund a key insurance subsidy program and provide states flexibility to skirt some requirements of the health care law.
by JENNIFER HABERKORN
(Politico) – There is no assurance that the agreement will get to the Senate floor, however. Republicans on Tuesday were lukewarm about the prospect of resuming debate over whether to try to prop up Obamacare after multiple failed GOP attempts to repeal the law.
The deal would include funding through 2019 for Obamacare’s cost-sharing program, which President Donald Trump cut last week. It would allow states to use existing Obamacare waivers to approve insurance plans with “comparable affordability” to Obamacare plans, Alexander said. But it would notably not allow states to duck the law’s minimum requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover.
“Sen. Murray and I have an agreement,” Alexander said. “We’re going to round up co-sponsors as best we can.”
Alexander said he and Murray would then hand the legislative language off to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to determine how and whether to bring it to the Senate floor. The chamber has a full legislative calendar for the next few weeks, including a defense authorization bill, a GOP budget and tax reform.
McConnell on Tuesday declined to say when a bill may come to the floor. “We haven’t had a chance to think about the way forward yet,” he told reporters.
During a Rose Garden appearance, Trump called the agreement “a short-term deal” that could lead to a longer-term solution involving block grants to states.