GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill

GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill
© Getty Images

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Maternal deaths keep rising in US, raising scrutiny Supreme Court weighs future of online sales taxes MORE (R-Tenn.) expressed optimism about a bipartisan effort to stabilize ObamaCare markets, saying his bill could be included in the upcoming funding package if it had President Trump's blessing.

"I think if the president supports it, it'll be a part of the end-of-the-year package," Alexander told CNBC in an interview published Monday.

Alexander has been pushing for his bill with Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe risk of kicking higher ed reauthorization down the road Trump admin announces abstinence-focused overhaul of teen pregnancy program Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE (D-Wash.), which would fund key ObamaCare payments for two years in exchange for added flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.

ADVERTISEMENT

The end-of-the-year package, with multiple measures likely to be attached to a government funding bill, could provide a vehicle.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynJoe Scarborough predicts Trump won't run in 2020 Republicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo MORE (R-Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, likewise said last week that Alexander-Murray is "likely" to be in the end-of-the-year package.

However, Democrats said last week they would block the Alexander-Murray bill if Republicans continue trying to repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax-reform legislation. Democrats say that is not a trade they will go along with.

Moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump aide: Mueller probe 'has gone well beyond' initial scope Trump attorney Cohen overshadows Mueller probe Collins: Comey should have waited to release his memoir MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators press administration on mental health parity Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses GOP fractures over push to protect Russia probe MORE (Alaska) have said passing Alexander-Murray could help ease their concerns about the destabilizing effects of repealing the mandate in tax reform.

However, Collins said Sunday she wants Alexander-Murray to pass before the tax bill does, which would likely not be the case if the bill waited until the end-of-the-year package.

Experts say that passing Alexander-Murray would not fully offset the effects of repealing the individual mandate, though, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would increase premiums by 10 percent.

Trump has given mixed signals on Alexander-Murray. Alexander is trying to win more firm support from him.

"We're going to say, 'Mr. President, you asked us to do this. You don't want chaos, neither do we," Alexander said. "'Sign it, take some credit for it, and give the American people a bipartisan win. I think they'll like it.'"