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After President Trump threw his most destructive grenade yet into the Obamacare insurance markets, Republican lawmakers on Monday said they felt a renewed sense of urgency to come together on a bipartisan health care reform package that has been in the works for weeks.
Many lawmakers spoke only in generalities, not explicitly endorsing a legislative proposal that is being put together by the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. But even those who just weeks ago had pledged to support nothing short of an overturn of Obamacare entirely now seemed open to the idea of repairing the damage to that law that Trump had done.
Alexander said Trump told him by phone Oct. 14 he’d like to see a bill that funds the Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies that he abruptly cut off last week. In return, he wants to see “meaningful flexibility for the states in providing more choices,” Alexander (R-Tenn.) said.
“He said he wanted to make sure that in this interim period while we’re still arguing about the long-term direction of health care, that people aren’t hurt — those were his words,” Alexander said of Trump.
Alexander, the chairman of the Senate health Committee, has been working with ranking Democrat Patty Murray for weeks on an Obamacare stabilization bill with similar parameters. But the talks had stalled over how to define state flexibility: Republicans want to let states modify their health systems under Obamacare, and Democrats are wary of anything that could unwind any of the consumer protections in the law.