Schumer expresses hope for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes

Schumer expresses hope for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions We can’t tackle climate change if we ignore the main polluter — transportation Hoyer introducing legislation to block Trump from lifting sanctions on Russian companies MORE (D-N.Y.) on Friday urged Republicans to work across the aisle after the failure of their repeal bill.

"I hope we can work together to make the system better in a bipartisan way," Schumer said at a press conference. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Mellman: Why does the GOP persist? Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight MORE (R-Ky.) invited Democrats to offer their ideas on healthcare in his speech on the Senate floor after the failed repeal vote. But he expressed skepticism about Democrats' ideas, saying he didn't want to be "bailing out insurance companies with no thought of any kind of reform."

Schumer, though, argued that he thought there could be bipartisan support for some ideas to help stabilize the insurance markets under ObamaCare. 

He called for guaranteeing ObamaCare payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), which are key to keeping insurers in the market and preventing premium spikes. 

President Trump has threatened to cancel those payments to cause chaos in the market and try to bring Democrats to the negotiating table. 

Some Republican lawmakers have also called for guaranteeing the CSR payments. 

Schumer also called for "reinsurance," which is funding to help pay for the costs of sick ObamaCare enrollees and try to prevent those patients' costs from driving up premiums.

"At the very beginning we should stabilize the system," Schumer said. 

He pointed to hearings in the Health Committee that Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBold, bipartisan action on child care will win plenty of friends GOP seeks health care reboot after 2018 losses Democrats demand answers on Trump short-term insurance plans MORE (D-Wash.) plan to hold.

Schumer said he spoke with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism Anti-Defamation League calls on House leaders to censure Steve King over white supremacy comments MORE (R-Wis.) Friday morning about healthcare and argued that if Trump stayed out of the way, congressional leaders could get a lot done. 

Trump early Friday tweeted that he wanted to let ObamaCare "implode," to bring Democrats to the table. 

"It’ll hurt the American people and it’ll hurt him," Schumer warned of that approach.