Schumer says bill to stabilize ACA markets has votes
(Bloomberg) -- Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said a bipartisan bill to temporarily stabilize Obamacare’s insurance markets has enough support to pass the Senate, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s waiting for assurances from President Donald Trump before he allows a vote.
The bill introduced by Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander and Washington Democrat Patty Murray has all 48 Senate Democrats backing it along with 12 Republicans, Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“I would urge Senator McConnell to put it on the floor immediately, this week,” Schumer said. “It will pass, and it will pass by a large number of votes.”
McConnell said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that he would be “happy” to bring the measure to the floor if he knew Trump would sign it.
“I’m not certain yet what the president is looking for here,” McConnell said.
Trump has made conflicting statements about the Senate effort to halt an exit of insurers from individual markets and what Alexander described as “ chaos.” The president had personally encouraged Alexander and Murray, who lead the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee before seeming to pull back support.
“I want them to be careful with respect to the insurance companies, insurance companies are extremely good at making money,” Trump said Oct. 19. “I want to take care of our people. I don’t want to take care of our insurance companies.”
Days earlier, Trump had expressed the same concern when he ended subsidies for Obamacare insurers that were designed to keep premiums low.
“We need something that goes a little further to get on board,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Oct. 18 when asked about the Senate proposal. She called the deal a “good step in the right direction.”
Alexander has said the bill contains language to make clear there won’t be what Trump has cast as a bailout of health insurers.