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Senators strike bipartisan deal to give insurers 2 more years of CSR payments

Proposal by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray is seen as short-term fix for healthcare coverage under ACA.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Photo from <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Obama_Health_Care_Speech_to_Joint_Session_of_Congress.jpg">Wikipedia</a>.Photo from Wikipedia.

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have reached an agreement on a bipartisan proposal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act insurance market.

Their deal would continue cost-sharing reduction payments for two years and give states flexibility on ACA mandates for coverage.

[Also: Bipartisan short-term health insurance fix is on its way, Trump says]

During a press conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump indicated he supported the plan.

"It is a short term solution so we don't have this dangerous little period, including a dangerous period for insurance companies by the way, for a period of one year, two years …" the President said.

[Also: Providers relieved 'skinny' bill fails, say it's time for bipartisan solution]

Last week, Trump said he was ending CSR payments, in a move that signaled greater destabilization of the individual market under the ACA.

A healthcare bill is expected to come to a vote in early 2018, Trump said.

Ultimately, block grants going to the states is the answer, Trump said on Tuesday.

Senators are expected to get a briefing on the deal at 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Politico.

The plan still needs to gain the broad support of Senate and House leaders for it to pass.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the plan has broad support and provides real stability.

"We've also put in some very significant anti-sabotage provisions," Schumer said. "The president had been sabotaging this bill. And the agreement would undo much of that sabotage."

Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, and Murray, a Democrat from Washington, head the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. They've been working since the summer on a bipartisan solution for healthcare law. Alexander originally supported one year of continued CSR payments to insurers. Murray and Democrats have compromised in allowing for greater flexibility to state waivers under the ACA, a proposal supported by Republicans.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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