Alexander urges Trump to keep Obamacare subsidies, schedules health care hearings

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to drop plans to eliminate government insurance subsidies that help millions afford health coverage in order to give Congress time to “stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market,” reports the Times Free Press.

Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, announced plans he and the panel’s senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, will hold bipartisan hearings beginning Sept. 4.

The goal is coming up with a short-term solution so that “Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in 2018,” Tennessee’s senior senator said in comments to his committee.

“There are a number of issues with the American health care system, but if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is the individual health insurance market,” Alexander added. “Both Republicans and Democrats agree on this.”

See also the New York Times report, which ties the Alexander-Murray move in the Senate to an effort by some House Republicans “to promote incremental health legislation that would also fund the cost-sharing subsidies.”

The moves were a remarkable response to the president’s repeated threats to send health care insurance markets into a tailspin. The offered tangible indications of cooperation between the parties after Republican efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate last week, all but ending the seven-year Republican quest to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Lawmakers from both parties concede that the health law needs improvement, as consumers face sharp premium increases and a shrinking number of insurance options in many states.


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