GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill

GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill
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Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Coalition of conservative groups to air ads against bipartisan proposal to end 'surprise' medical bills Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules MORE (R-Tenn.) expressed optimism about a bipartisan effort to stabilize ObamaCare markets, saying his bill could be included in the upcoming funding package if it had President Trump's blessing.

"I think if the president supports it, it'll be a part of the end-of-the-year package," Alexander told CNBC in an interview published Monday.

Alexander has been pushing for his bill with Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayConservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin MORE (D-Wash.), which would fund key ObamaCare payments for two years in exchange for added flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.

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The end-of-the-year package, with multiple measures likely to be attached to a government funding bill, could provide a vehicle.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynNadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Democrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public MORE (R-Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, likewise said last week that Alexander-Murray is "likely" to be in the end-of-the-year package.

However, Democrats said last week they would block the Alexander-Murray bill if Republicans continue trying to repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax-reform legislation. Democrats say that is not a trade they will go along with.

Moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum No. 2 GOP leader eyes Wednesday of next week for possible votes on witnesses Collins walks impeachment tightrope MORE (Alaska) have said passing Alexander-Murray could help ease their concerns about the destabilizing effects of repealing the mandate in tax reform.

However, Collins said Sunday she wants Alexander-Murray to pass before the tax bill does, which would likely not be the case if the bill waited until the end-of-the-year package.

Experts say that passing Alexander-Murray would not fully offset the effects of repealing the individual mandate, though, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would increase premiums by 10 percent.

Trump has given mixed signals on Alexander-Murray. Alexander is trying to win more firm support from him.

"We're going to say, 'Mr. President, you asked us to do this. You don't want chaos, neither do we," Alexander said. "'Sign it, take some credit for it, and give the American people a bipartisan win. I think they'll like it.'"