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Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets

Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets
© Greg Nash

The Republican and Democratic heads of the Senate Health Committee are looking to cobble together a bipartisan ObamaCare deal, after the GOP's latest failure to repeal the law.

Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) are zeroing in on a deal aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare's markets, which could come in days. 

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Lobbyists have told The Hill the bill could potentially include two years of funding for ObamaCare's insurer subsidies and an expansion of state waivers. It could also allow ObamaCare enrollees to buy "copper plans," which are cheaper, less generous insurance plans that currently only people under age 30 can buy.

However, it's still unclear if the deal could pass the full Senate or the House. 

Conservatives have called the proposal a "bail out" for insurance companies. 

"It would be a serious mistake to bail out insurance companies, rather than provide relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting under Obamacare," Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProtesters confront Cruz at airport over Kavanaugh vote O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage MORE (R-Texas) said in a statement Friday. 

All eyes will also be on President Trump, who has also said he might soon sign an executive order allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.

Meanwhile, speculation is growing about who Trump will tap to replace former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceGOP on timing of Haley’s announcement: 'Unusual' and 'odd' Watchdog calls for investigation into Haley flights White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report MORE, who resigned after a firestorm over his use of private jets for official business.

On Friday, Trump accepted Price's resignation.

Price had tried to quiet the controversy, apologizing and vowing to reimburse taxpayers for the flights. But the $52,000 he offered to pay was only part of the estimated $400,000 in costs for his trips.

His flights have also drawn the interest of Congress, with the House Oversight Committee vowing to investigate the use of private jet travel by Cabinet officials.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee will markup legislation next week on reauthorization for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But the mark up is coming days after CHIP funding expires on Sept. 30.

The full House in the coming week will also vote on a 20-week abortion ban. The bill from Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain MORE (R-Ariz.) would make it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

While it's likely to pass the House, it's probably doomed in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to pass, and Republicans only have a 52-seat majority. 

Trump has said he would sign the bill, which is a top priority for anti-abortion groups.

 

Hearings and markups

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee will hold a hearing titled "The Federal Response to the Opioid Crisis" on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 430. 

The House Energy & Commerce Committee will mark up a bill extending the federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Wednesday. A time has not been announced.

 

In case you missed it: 

No ObamaCare repeal in GOP budget

Anti-abortion groups fuming over GOP's failure to defund Planned Parenthood

Graham-Cassidy sponsors vow to press on with health-care reform

Price says he's working to regain Trump's trust

Price to pay $52K out of estimated $400K in travel costs

GOP governor to sign bill allowing Medicaid coverage for abortions

Price's job seen at risk after Trump slams private jet use

Congress on track to miss two big health deadlines

Senate passes bipartisan Medicare reform bill

GOP health effort on hold indefinitely

 

This story was updated on Oct. 2 at 10:16 a.m.