Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets – The Hill

 In U.S.
The leaders of the Senate Health Committee expressed optimism Thursday that a bipartisan deal to stabilize the insurance markets was within reach.

The goal, according to Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump is ‘open’ to ObamaCare fix, lawmakers say Tinker, scrap, or start over: Let states decide how to fix health care Overnight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach funds MORE (R-Tenn.), is to put the final touches on a bipartisan package the week of Sept. 18 with the hope the Senate will pass it by the end of the month.

The panel held four hearings on the topic over the last two weeks, bringing in governors, insurance commissioners and experts as Alexander and the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTrump is ‘open’ to ObamaCare fix, lawmakers say Tinker, scrap, or start over: Let states decide how to fix health care Week ahead: Senate panel looks to quickly strike deal on ObamaCare fix MORE (D-Wash.), attempt to craft a deal to help the insurance markets.

At the final hearing on Thursday, Alexander laid out the main themes that emerged throughout the hours of discussion, and it’s expected this could serve as the framework for a deal.

One, funding cost-sharing reduction payments, which insurers receive from the federal government as payment for lowering the out-of-pocket costs of some ObamaCare enrollees.

Second, letting people of all ages buy “copper plans,” which are essentially catastrophic coverage with lower premiums and higher deductibles.

Third, giving states more flexibility to approve health insurance plans and rates.

Meanwhile, four GOP senators are pushing a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Time isn’t on their side, as the fast-track vehicle Republicans were using to gut ObamaCare expires at the end of the month Republicans are using a budget maneuver, called reconciliation, because it avoids a Democratic filibuster.

On Wednesday, GOP Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Sanders enjoys big moment with single-payer bill | Five things to know about Sanders’s plan | Trump applauds senators’ latest ObamaCare repeal effort Trump applauds Republican senators for latest ObamaCare repeal effort GOP senators make last ObamaCare repeal pitch MORE (La.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Memo: Comey allies accuse Trump White House of smear Senate defense bill at standstill over amendment fight Overnight Health Care: Sanders enjoys big moment with single-payer bill | Five things to know about Sanders’s plan | Trump applauds senators’ latest ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (S.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care: Sanders enjoys big moment with single-payer bill | Five things to know about Sanders’s plan | Trump applauds senators’ latest ObamaCare repeal effort Trump applauds Republican senators for latest ObamaCare repeal effort GOP senators make last ObamaCare repeal pitch MORE (Wis.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOvernight Health Care: Sanders enjoys big moment with single-payer bill | Five things to know about Sanders’s plan | Trump applauds senators’ latest ObamaCare repeal effort Trump applauds Republican senators for latest ObamaCare repeal effort GOP senators make last ObamaCare repeal pitch MORE (Nev.) released the newest ObamaCare repeal bill. The measure seeks to give control to the states.

Specifically, the bill moves money for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and block grants those funds to states. It also repeals the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump steps up courtship of Dems Senate defense bill at standstill over amendment fight Overnight Health Care: Sanders enjoys big moment with single-payer bill | Five things to know about Sanders’s plan | Trump applauds senators’ latest ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Ky.) has told Graham and Cassidy they need to find the votes themselves. Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynImmigration arms race begins on Capitol Hill GOP senators call on Bannon, Trump to lay off incumbents This week: Congress reshuffles deck for September MORE (R-Texas) is measuring support for the bill and GOP leadership has asked the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to prioritize an analysis of the legislation.

But Cassidy has expressed optimism he is close to getting the votes needed.

“I am pretty confident we’ll get there on the Republican side,” Cassidy told reporters in his office on Friday. “We’re probably at 48-49 [votes] and talking to two or three more.”

So far, no other measure — even a scaled down version of a repeal bill — has been able to garner the votes needed to pass the Senate. There’s little room for error, as Republicans control 52 seats.

On Friday, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate defense bill at standstill over amendment fight Overnight Defense: Senate votes down Paul’s bid to repeal war authorizations| Mattis wants to keep all three parts of nuclear triad | Boeing wins Air Force One design contract Senate votes down Paul’s bid to revoke war authorizations MORE (R-Ky.) came out in opposition to the measure, calling it “Obamacare Lite” in a tweet.

But there’s more going on in the health world than just ObamaCare repeal.

Recent Posts
Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox
Join over 2.3 million subscribers. Get daily breaking news directly to your inbox as they happen.
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.
Get Latest News in Facebook
Never miss another breaking news. Click on the "LIKE" button below now!