Senators Launch Bipartisan Effort to Shore Up Obamacare

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from The New York Times,

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate health committee will begin work in early September on legislation to “stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market” for 2018, and the committee’s influential chairman said Tuesday that he has urged President Trump to continue paying subsidies to health insurance companies as work proceeds.

The announcement by the chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, was the first tangible indication of cooperation between the parties since Republican efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate last week.

President Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, which reimburse insurers for cutting deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for millions of low-income people.

Mr. Alexander said it was important for Mr. Trump to approve the payments for August and September, and that Congress should “in a bipartisan way” approve a further continuation of the payments through 2018.

Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the senior Democrat on the committee, welcomed Mr. Alexander’s statement.

Mr. Alexander said the committee would hold hearings starting the week of Sept. 4 “on the actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market, so that Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in the year 2018.”

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