“Senate Republicans Commence Health Care Blame Game” – pointing fingers at each other. (But..Is a bipartisan deal next?)

“Frustration overtook Senate Republicans on Tuesday as the reality sunk in that they had failed again in fulfilling a seven-year campaign promise to repeal the 2010 health care law. And senators were looking to cast blame wherever they could find it.
They decried the time constraints of the budget reconciliation procedure they chose to advance a bill with only Republican support.
They chastised Democrats for their lack of assistance, despite making no serious effort to work across the aisle during the past nine months.
They blamed the top-down approach to negotiating the legislation that leadership employed.
Some criticized the carve-outs to states whose senators were skeptical of the proposal, a strategy that resulted in near daily updates to the already complex legislation….” (A)

“Two U.S. senators from both parties are close to finalizing a bipartisan deal to shore up the health insurance exchanges created under Obamacare, the chamber’s top Democrat said on Thursday…
Schumer said Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, a Republican, and ranking Democrat Patty Murray had resurrected a bipartisan approach, which had been cast aside amid the latest near-vote on a repeal bill.
Alexander and Murray had been working to protect the government payments made to insurers to help reduce medical expenses for low-income Americans enrolled in Obamacare. Alexander also wanted states to have more flexibility to design insurance plans under the program…
The pact could buoy health insurance companies, which came out forcefully against the Republican repeal effort and have faced uncertainty since the November election of Republican President Donald Trump, who vowed to sink the law.” (B)

“It’s far from clear that any deal Murray and Alexander work out could win approval from the full Senate, let alone pass the House.
Many other Senate Republicans, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), are more skeptical of a deal to stabilize ObamaCare than Alexander is.
And the House and White House are another question entirely.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has told the Senate that an Alexander-Murray deal “isn’t viable” for the House GOP.
As Republicans sought to win support for their repeal effort, some spoke dismissively of the Alexander-Murray talks, suggesting anything the senators agreed upon would go nowhere in the House…
An expansion of waivers currently in ObamaCare that allow states to innovate and change regulations are also said to be part of the potential deal, though it is not clear how far those waiver changes will go.
Those provisions are both Republican requests.
The main provision for Democrats would be funding for key ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions, which President Trump has threatened to cancel in a bid to make the health-care law “implode.”” (C)

(A) Senate Republicans Commence Health Care Blame Game, by Joe Williams, http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/senate-republicans-commence-health-care-blame-game/ar-AAsv5qg?li=BBmkt5R
(B) Senators close to bipartisan deal on health exchanges: Schumer, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare/senators-close-to-bipartisan-deal-on-health-exchanges-schumer-idUSKCN1C32UL
(C) Senators zero in on deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets, by PETER SULLIVAN, http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/352957-senators-zero-in-on-deal-to-stabilize-obamacare-markets

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