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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 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 AlexanderIt's time for Republicans to lead (again) on climate WANTED: A Republican with courage Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills Work on surprise medical bills goes into overdrive 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, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Trump: Anonymous news sources are 'bulls---' Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' 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 PaulBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran US ambassador to Germany ruffles State Department with budget stand Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon MORE (Ky.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Colorado secretary of state bans employees from traveling to Alabama after abortion law MORE (Maine), as well as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg jokes about holding town hall same night as 'Game of Thrones' finale Buttigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Warren offers to help Twitter user with her love life MORE (Mass.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Buttigieg: The future 'is personal' for me Donald Trump, president for life? We need term limits now 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.