Senators agree on bipartisan Obamacare fix

By Danielle Haynes  |  Oct. 17, 2017 at 3:22 PM
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Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A bipartisan healthcare effort led by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., could stabilize the Affordable Care Act, but President Donald Trump warned Tuesday the plan would be "short term."

Alexander and Murray announced they've reached an agreement in principle to extend payments to insurers for two years and allow states the ability to change ACA rules.

The deal comes days after Trump signed an executive order ending federal subsidies to help Americans purchase insurance coverage through ACA, also known as Obamacare.

Murray and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, in a news conference both called Trump's order sabotage.

"I'm really glad that Democrats and Republicans agree it's unacceptable and that the uncertainty and disfunction cannot continue," Murray said.

Schumer said details still need to be worked out on the deal, but he hopes Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, will "put it on the floor as quickly as possible."

"It will protect people from premium increases, assure the marketplace that it has a longterm future and prevent the sabotage that we have seen thrown at it in the last several months," he said.

Trump was asked about the deal during a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The president gave his tentative approval and said the administration was involved with its development.

"This is a short-term deal because we think ultimately block grants are going to be the answer," he said, referring to state grants proposed under the Graham-Cassidy bill that failed to get enough support.

Trump said Alexander and Murray's plan would "get us over this intermediary hump" of one to two years.

"But we're going to have a great solution ultimately," Trump said.

"When Republicans and Democrats in Congress take the time to work together under regular order rather than retreating to partisan corners we can truly get things done that help people that we serve," Murray said. Tuesday.

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