GOP senator ready to resume bipartisan ObamaCare talks

GOP senator ready to resume bipartisan ObamaCare talks
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Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures MORE (R-Tenn.) left the door open Tuesday to restarting bipartisan talks on an ObamaCare stabilization bill. 

"I’m still concerned about the next two years and Congress has an opportunity to slow down premium increases in 2018, begin to lower them in 2019, and do our best to make sure there are no counties where people have zero options to buy health insurance," Alexander said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon. 

“I will consult with Senator [Patty] Murray [D-Wash.] and with other senators, both Republicans and Democrats, to see if senators can find consensus on a limited bipartisan plan that could be enacted into law to help lower premiums and make insurance available to the 18 million Americans in the individual market in 2018 and 2019." 

Alexander halted negotiations on a stabilization bill after a last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare began gaining steam last week. 

But Republican leaders announced Tuesday they would not call the repeal bill for a vote because it didn't have the support needed to pass. 


That opens the door for Alexander to resume talks on a stabilization bill, which could include funding for ObamaCare insurer subsidies and more flexibility for states to waive out of some of the law's requirements. 

Because insurers must make decisions about rates and participation for the 2018 plan year by Wednesday, it's unclear if a stabilization bill would have an impact on next year. 

But it could still have an impact on 2019.