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2 Senators Reach Deal On A Health Law Fix, But Bringing Congress Along Is Tricky

By Kaiser Health News  
   October 18, 2017

The agreement would guarantee payment of subsidies that help some low-income policyholders, for two years. It would also restore $110 million in 'outreach' funding cut by the Trump administration.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) talk during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Oct. 17. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

This article first appeared October 17, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Julie Rovner

After nearly two months of negotiations, key senators said Tuesday they have reached a bipartisan deal on a proposal intended to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market, which has been rocked by recent actions by President Donald Trump.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), respectively the chairman and the top Democrat of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, negotiated the emerging deal. The milestone agreement, they said, would guarantee payment of “cost-sharing reduction” subsidies that help some policyholders with low incomes afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for two years, 2018 and 2019.

Trump announced last week that he would stop funding the subsidies, which have been the subject of a long-running lawsuit. These subsidies are separate from the tax credit subsidies that help eligible consumers pay for their premiums. Those premium subsidies are not affected by Trump’s action.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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