McCain On Health Care Reform: 'It Has To Be Bipartisan'

McCain On Health Care Reform: 'It Has To Be Bipartisan'”

Two leading senators said Tuesday they have the "basic outlines" of a bipartisan agreement to resume federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked.

Later at the White House Trump told reporters, "If something can happen, that's fine". Insurance companies are meant to be a kind of middleman. "They've been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anybody's ever seen before".

Paul Ryan is opposed: House Speaker Paul Ryan also voiced opposition to the bill, and said "the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare" rather than on bipartisan deals. "Alexander needs to take, and it doesn't sound like the president's committed to it right now".

Collins said she did not know if McConnell would schedule a vote but that "if it comes to the floor, I think the votes are there".

Alexander and Murray shook hands on their agreement this week after months of intermittent talks. These CSR payments allow insurers to charge lower premiums, which ultimately results in more enrollment and lower federal spending on premium subsidies.

The compromise has won warm endorsements from Democrats and some Republicans.

Under Obama's 2010 overhaul, the government must pay insurers for reducing out-of-pocket expenses for lower-earning customers.

After an initially supportive statement calling the Alexander-Murray legislation "a very good solution", Trump seemed to turn tail and characterize the bill as a "bailout" for insurance companies.

"It's not a full approach and we need something to go a little further", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Corporate tax cuts boost wages: On Monday, Kevin Hassett, head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, rolled out a paper purporting to show that middle-class wages would rise by $4,000 to $9,000 per year if the corporate tax rate is cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to get rid of Obamacare but has been frustrated by the failure of Republicans in Congress to pass legislation to do so, also made clear he wanted broader legislation to repeal and replace the law.

So would the compromise enrich insurers?

"The definition of meaningful", Alexander said when asked what the remaining stumbling blocks were. He said he and Murray would formally unveil the bill Thursday and predicted that "some form of the proposal" would become law by year's end. Alexander didn't predict that this bill would pass soon.

Govs. who signed onto the letter are John Kasich (R-Ohio), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), Bill Walker (I-Alaska), Tom Wolf (D-Pa.), Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.), Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), John Bel Edwards (D-La.), Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) and Phil Scott (R-Vt.). "What I did say though is, I don't want the insurance companies making any more money. than they have to".

Alexander said Trump has twice in recent days urged him to reach a deal with Murray. "And it may have to be part of a larger negotiation".

The two senators planned to brief colleagues in separate GOP and Democratic Senate lunches.

Senate Republican leaders were noncommittal. Insurers in some states have installed higher premiums for next year, anticipating the subsidies would end. But Democrats and some Republicans say halting them will create chaos in insurance market places. Joe Donnelly of IN practically stampeded at the opportunity to co-sponsor the bipartisan bill and show off their willingness to change Obamacare without repealing it. Vermont Sen. "I guess it depends on if there's a bipartisan agreement and the Democrats and Republicans agree on a path forward". Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (D-Wash.).

AP reporter Ken Thomas contributed.

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