Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have reached their bipartisan deal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and restore the cost-sharing reduction payments that Donald Trump cancelled last week. Senator Alexander says this plan will save Americans from chaos:
The Alexander-Murray deal would continue the insurer payments for two years, while establishing new flexibility for states under former President Barack Obama’s law.
“This would allow the Senate to continue its debate about the long term of health care, but over the next two years I think Americans won’t have to worry about the possibility of being able to buy insurance in counties where they live,” Alexander said in announcing the deal after a closed-door lunch where he presented it to GOP senators.
“This agreement avoids chaos. I don’t know a Republican or Democrat who benefits from chaos,” he said [“A Short-Term Health Deal by Senators with Trump’s Blessing,” AP via KELO-TV, 2017.10.17].
Trump says the Alexander-Murray plan is “a short-term solution… for about a year or two years and it will get us over this intermediate hump.”
But by endorsing this deal, Trump is endorsing what the majority of the electorate already believes: Trump and the Republicans now own health care. If premiums go up and coverage erodes, it’s the ruling party’s fault for not fixing the problem.
Republicans and Trump said they wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But in ten months of calling all the shots in Washington, they’ve found President Obama’s plan is just too good, too popular, and too effective to throw out. With Alexander-Murray, they admit they have failed and allow the ACA to stand for a couple more years.