By No Labels
It’s still too early to tell exactly how health care will be addressed in the end-of-year legislation being discussed in Congress, but here’s an encouraging note: The Alexander-Murray reform bill appears to be in play, with President Trump reportedly putting his support behind it this week.
For those who need a reminder, Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray recently unveiled a bill that would address some of the problems in the Affordable Care Act. It would fund a key insurance subsidy program and give the states more flexibility in how they deal with ACA mandates, giving Republicans and Democrats each something they care about while attempting to stave off premium increases for consumers buying plans in the individual marketplace.
The bill shares several major tenets with a fix released earlier this year by the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 48 lawmakers who look across the aisle to find practical solutions. Former Senator Joe Lieberman, a national co-chair of No Labels, explains the process well in this op-ed.
Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Patty Murray, of Washington, is the ranking Democrat. The fortunes of their health care bill have swept up and down in recent weeks. At one point in late October, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill had enough votes to pass, but enthusiasm cooled again thereafter.
This week, the bill has a renaissance when Alexander tweeted on Wednesday, “Yesterday, President Trump said he supported the Alexander-Murray agreement becoming law by the end of the year.” Some observers believe this bill could get rolled into the legislation that must pass before year end to keep the government funded and avoid a debt ceiling default.
Of course, it is too early to tell what will happen. A great deal of negotiation is taking place on Capitol Hill, and it is happening fast. But this is good news: a bipartisan compromise on health care in play.