Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this weekend that he’d be “happy” to bring a bipartisan Affordable Care Act stabilization bill to the floor—but with a major caveat.
“If there is a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “And I’m not certain yet what the president is looking for here, but I’ll be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it,” he added.
Indeed, it is still unclear whether Trump will support the bill authored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. He has shifted positions since the two senators announced their agreement, first seeming to back the deal but then saying he could never support “bailouts” for insurance companies.
Among other provisions, the bill would fund cost-sharing reduction payments—which reimburse insurers for reducing enrollees’ out-of-pocket healthcare costs—for two years. Trump announced earlier this month that his administration would stop paying the subsidies, which a judge has ruled are illegal since they were never appropriated by Congress.
The White House is also seeking to make the measure more conservative, chiefly by repealing the ACA’s individual and employer mandate. But Democrats have pushed back against those demands, according to the Associated Press.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Trump to support the bill rather than trying to change it, and Murray indicated she wouldn’t agree to the president’s tweaks.
“I’m certainly not interested in changing our bipartisan agreement to move healthcare in the wrong direction,” she said.
The bill has garnered considerable support in the Senate, boasting 24 co-sponsors. That includes Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who have said they are trying to get “more flexibility provisions” in the bill similar to those in their failed ACA repeal bill.