Republicans Try to Save Obamacare After Repeal Failure

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

After failing to repeal Obamacare, Senate Republicans continue to work with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to rescue Obamacare through a bipartisan bailout and stabilization package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Tuesday that they will not vote to repeal Obamacare through the Graham-Cassidy block grant proposal. Now only a few days later, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) continues to work with committee ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Chuck Schumer on bipartisan legislation to bail out Obamacare.

Schumer revealed Thursday that the deal was “on the verge” of a bipartisan compromise that would bail out the Obamacare exchanges.

Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday, “They both inform me that they’re on the verge of an agreement, a bipartisan healthcare agreement to stabilize markets and lower premiums.”

Senate Republican initially nixed talks with Democrats to bail out Obamacare after the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare bill became a viable option to repeal Obamacare; however, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) once again derailed the Obamacare repeal process by opposing the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill. Now that McCain halted Obamacare repeal, Senate Republicans want to push for a bill that would help preserve Obama’s hallmark legislation rather than fulfill their seven-year promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The stabilization package would include continued payments for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction program, or Obamacare insurance subsidies, which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) argued amounts to a bailout of Obamacare.

Sen. Paul said, “They take money that they were giving to the poor for health care and give it to the rich who run the insurance companies.”

President Donald Trump even threatened to remove the Obamacare subsidies so that insurers can know how badly Americans continue to be hurt by the Affordable Care Act. Trump tweeted, “If Obamacare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?”:

When the “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill failed in the Senate, McConnell objected to health insurance bailouts and efforts to stabilize Obamacare. McConnell said, “For myself, I can say, and pretty sure I can say for most of the people on this side of the aisle, that bailing out insurance companies, bailing out insurance companies without any kind of reform, that’s not something I want to be a part of. I suspect that not many folks over here are interested in that.”


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