Insurers, health groups praise bipartisan ObamaCare deal

Insurers, health groups praise bipartisan ObamaCare deal
© Greg Nash

Health groups and insurers are praising a bipartisan bill to stabilize ObamaCare' markets, urging Congress to take action on it.

"Consumers and patients benefit from more affordable care and additional choices in a stable individual health insurance market," reads the joint statement from eight groups, including America's Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association. 

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The bill, authored by Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid Dems warn against changes to federal family planning program Overnight Health Care: Drug company under scrutiny for Michael Cohen payments | New Ebola outbreak | FDA addresses EpiPen shortage MORE (D-Wash.) would fund key ObamaCare insurer payments for two years and provide states with more flexibility to waive some ObamaCare rules. 

The pair introduced the bill Thursday with 22 co-sponsors. 

But the fate of the bill is not yet clear. President Trump and some conservative Republicans have called the insurer payments a bailout. His administration canceled the payments last week, arguing they were being made illegally. 

Senate leaders likely won't call the bill for a floor vote without approval from the president.

Alexander said he was open to adding any language the White House might have to strengthen a provision already in the bill to ensure that insurers can’t keep the payments for themselves but instead pass savings on to consumers in the form of rebates or another mechanism.  

Alexander said he has had multiple phone calls with Trump over the past week about the bill and was encouraged to work with Democrats on it.

The groups have pushed for Congress to take a bipartisan approach to health care and were largely critical of the GOP's attempts to repeal ObamaCare.