McConnell open to bipartisan deal on health insurance payments
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting MORE (R-Ky.) is signaling that he's open to a bipartisan deal on key payments to health insurance companies, but warning any agreement needs to include "real reforms."

“If the Democrats are willing to support some real reforms, rather than just an insurance company bailout, I would be willing to take a look at it,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky ahead of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic over the weekend.

He added that while there is "still a chance" the Senate will take back up its ObamaCare repeal and replace effort, Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure Sens introduce bipartisan bill matching Zinke proposed maintenance backlog fix Supreme Court vacancy throws Senate battle into chaos MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families MORE (D-Wash.) are also working on "some kind of bipartisan approach" to stabilize the individual insurance market. 

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Several Republican senators, including GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump’s damage control falters Trump: 'I think I did great at the news conference' George Will calls Trump ‘sad, embarrassing wreck of a man’ MORE (S.C.), are expected to use the August recess to try work on their ObamaCare replacement bills. 

But Alexander and Murray announced last week they would hold a series of bipartisan Health Committee hearings next month. 

Their goal is to craft a insurance stabilization bill by mid-September that is expected to include money for ObamaCare's cost-sharing reduction payments, which President Trump has threatened to cut off. 

"Our goal is to have hearings and come to a consensus by mid-September that would stabilize that individual market and make policies affordable for people like the 350,000 Tennesseans," Alexander told The New York Times

Alexander and Murray could face an uphill battle to getting any legislation to Trump's desk. First, they'll need to clear it through their politically diverse committee, which includes Republican Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcCain: Trump plays into 'Putin's hands' by attacking Montenegro, questioning NATO obligations The Nation editor: Reaction by most of the media to Trump-Putin press conference 'is like mob violence' Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace MORE (Ky.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts GOP senator: Trump's changing stances on Russian threat are 'dizzying' MORE (Maine), as well as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump pick to face grilling over family separations On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (Mass.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas House Dems launching Medicare for All Caucus Let's remove the legal shield from hackers who rob us of our civil rights MORE (Vt.). 

Even if a bill were to pass the Senate, it would likely face greater resistance in the House, where conservatives and outside groups are deeply opposed to what they view as a "bailout" for ObamaCare. 

But Alexander added in his comments to The Times that he thinks lawmakers will be able to find a deal, which he said could include narrow fixes. 

"I think we can do that. I think Democrats and Republicans agree that that market where 6 percent of Americans get their insurance is in trouble and we need to fix it," he said.