Senators Reach Deal to Fund Subsidies to Health Insurers

Senators Reach Deal to Fund Subsidies to Health Insurers

Trump, who campaigned for president a year ago on a pledge to repeal Obamacare, has repeatedly criticized the 2010 law, the Affordable Care Act.

In a joint statement issued Thursday, the top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of NY and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said Mr. Trump had "apparently chose to punish the American people for his inability to improve our health care system", the Times reported.

"Over the next two years, I think Americans won't have to worry about the possibility of being able to buy insurance in the counties where they live", he said in a conversation with reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday.

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee tells reporters that the next step will be for him and his negotiating partner - Democrat Patty Murray - to win enough support from colleagues to push it through Congress.

Both Murray and Alexander said Tuesday they were still struggling over language to make sure that if the cost-sharing payments are resumed, insurers would not receive a windfall by keeping both those payments and the higher premiums that many states are allowing in anticipation of the payments being ended.

The Trump administration said last week it would stop paying billions of dollars to insurers to help lower-income Americans pay medical expenses, part of the Republican president's effort to dismantle Obamacare, former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

Less than a week after President Trump said he is cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies, lawmakers say they have a deal to restore the money and take other actions that could stabilize insurance markets for next year.

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At the White House, Trump endorsed the deal, even though he has called the insurer payouts a "bailout" and continues to promise he will restart efforts next year to roll back the law.

Alexander says the two bargainers are close to an agreement to continue federal subsidies to insurers for two years.

"You'll get such low prices for such great care", he said just prior to signing the executive order, CBS News reported.

Moves to undermine or protect Obamacare come less than three weeks before the November 1 start to the open enrollment sign-up season for the program. And in the Senate, the measure would have to gain the support of at least 60 senators to ensure an obstruction-proof majority. "It does not change the requirement for preexisting conditions", Alexander said Thursday.

On Friday, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Politico that the president would not allow a short-term fix, calling a restoration of the cost-sharing reduction funds "corporate welfare and bailouts for the insurance companies".

The Alexander-Murray deal would also make it easier for states to get approval from the federal government to experiment with new healthcare programs, a process that now can take years. Alexander said they'll work to get co-sponsors for the legislation throughout the week so they can bring a bill to McConnell for consideration.

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