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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades MORE (D-Wash.) are also working on "some kind of bipartisan approach" to stabilize the individual insurance market. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Several Republican senators, including GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Pennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral 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 PaulOn The Money — Democrats craft billionaire tax with deal in reach Rand Paul questioning if crypto could become world reserve currency The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding MORE (Ky.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFunding for victims of 'Havana syndrome' to be included in Pentagon bill  The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination MORE (Maine), as well as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats face critical 72 hours The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal This week: Democrats aim to unlock Biden economic, infrastructure package MORE (Mass.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats face critical 72 hours Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Manchin nixes Medicare expansion Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion 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.