GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill

GOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill
© Getty Images

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns 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 MurrayDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.), which would fund key ObamaCare payments for two years in exchange for added flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 CornynDC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit 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 CollinsTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote 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.'"