“This is a short-term deal,” Trump said. “The solution will be for one or two years.”
He said the deal could shore up the health insurance market while Congress completes work on a long-term solution.
Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said on the Senate floor that he will join with Murray, the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee, to roll out their bipartisan ACA rescue bill later this week.
The bill would appropriate enough funding to keep the ACA cost-sharing reduction subsidy program going in 2018 and 2019, Alexander said.
In exchange, ACA supporters would have to accept some weakening in the “guardrails,” or coverage quality and access standards, that President Barack Obama’s administration established for the ACA Section 1332 waiver program.
At press time, the text of the proposal was not available.
An Ordinary Bipartisan Bill
Republicans hold a strong majority in the House but just 52 seats in the Senate.
In recent months, Republican congressional leaders have focused on drafting Republican-only Affordable Care Act budget reconciliation measures. Under Senate rules, a budget bill can deal only with budget matters, but it can get through the Senate with support from just 50 senators. The Senate can use the budget reconciliation process to pass just one budget deal per year.
An ordinary bipartisan bill would need a total of 60 votes to get through the Senate, including a combination of both Republicans and Democrats.
Alexander has been working on a bipartisan bill with Murray for months. Their Senate HELP Committee held four hearings on stabilizing the individual major medical insurance market, including the Affordable Care Act public exchange system, in September.
Alexander said today on the Senate floor that one advantage of considering an ordinary bipartisan bill is that the bill can change Affordable Care Act matters other than budget provisions, such as Affordable Care Act program rules.
Alexander and Murray will face two major obstacles, however.
They will have to persuade a significant number of Republicans in the House to vote for a bill that would continue a major Affordable Care Act funding stream.
Even if Alexander and Murray can get attract a majority of the members of the House, and 60 senators in the Senate, they will also have to get enough Republican, and Republican leadership, support to have their bill come up for a vote on the floor of both the House and Senate.
Alexander said he would introduced the bill together with Murray and other colleagues.
He did not say how many Republican cosponsors he expects to have in the Senate, or how much Republican support he expects to have in the House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has supported the Alexander-Murray negotiations in the past but has not given a clear statement of his views on the deal announced today.