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Collins confident health subsidies will be in spending bill

Collins confident health subsidies will be in spending bill
© Greg Nash

Funding for key ObamaCare insurer subsidies is likely to be included in the upcoming government funding bill, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTeam Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Hogan 'embarrassed that more people' in the GOP 'aren't speaking up' against Trump MORE (R-Maine) said Wednesday.

Collins said she had received reassurances Tuesday from Vice President Pence that the subsidies, opposed by House conservatives, would be in the funding bill.

“The vice president and I had a discussion yesterday that reinforced that agreement that the bills will be considered before the end of the year,” Collins said.

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Collins told reporters she is confident that deal will be honored in the upcoming government spending bill, and a key conservative in the House backed up her confidence.

“I think she has every reason to believe that it’ll be included,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship House Democrats back slower timeline for changing Confederate base names MORE (R-N.C.). “I’m not supportive of that position, but I don’t know that she’s misled in her confidence.”

The Maine senator, a swing vote on the tax bill, reached an agreement with Senate GOP leaders that she would vote for the tax package as long as two bipartisan ObamaCare bills were passed before the end of the year.

One bill, sponsored by Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Trump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition DOJ investigation into Epstein deal ends without recommended action The Hill's 12:30 Report: What to know about the Pfizer vaccine announcement MORE (D-Wash.), would temporarily fund ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction payments. Another would provide “reinsurance” — money to pay for the costs of sick enrollees and bring down premiums.

Together, the bills would shore up ObamaCare’s insurance markets, which experts predict could be gutted by a provision of the tax bill that repeals the mandate to buy health insurance

Collins said it appears that both bills will pass along with the next continuing resolution to fund the government, despite objections from House conservatives. The current funding bill expires Dec. 22.

That marks a change from just a few days ago when House conservatives showed little willingness to fund subsidies they see as bailing out a law they oppose. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition Feehery: A possible House Speaker conundrum for Democrats McCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments MORE (R-Wis.) said at the time he was never a part of a deal with Collins.

Meadows said including the payments could be “problematic” for conservatives, but Democratic support could make up for the lost Republican votes.