The Latest: Governors urge Congress to back health subsidies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and health care legislation (all times local):
A bipartisan group of governors is urging congressional leaders to support a plan to calm health insurance markets after President Donald Trump blocked federal subsidies to insurers.
The letter, signed by 10 governors, says, “Stabilizing insurance markets is one of the primary areas where Congress can take action to ensure that consumers have affordable health care options.”
The agreement by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., calls for a two-year extension of the subsidies. The governors write that Congress should extend the subsidies at least through 2019.
The letter released Wednesday night is signed by the governors of Ohio, Colorado, Montana, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Vermont.
The authors of a bipartisan plan to calm health insurance markets say they’ll push the proposal forward, even as President Donald Trump’s stance has changed from supportive to disdainful to distant.
The agreement by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray would offer a two-year extension of federal subsidies to insurers, which Trump has blocked.
A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan says Ryan “does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare.”
The compromise has won endorsements from Democrats and some Republicans. It includes steps won by Republicans to make it easier for insurers to avoid some coverage requirements.
But Trump has lambasted the subsidies as insurance company bailouts. Several Republicans say the Alexander-Murray agreement probably needs Trump’s backing to survive.
Nineteen state attorneys general are asking a federal judge in California to force the Trump administration to make health care subsidy payments that the president abruptly cut off last week.
The monthly payments were scheduled to go out Friday. The states filed a request Wednesday for an emergency court order requiring that they be paid on schedule.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is leading the effort. He says President Donald Trump is trying to sabotage the Obama health care law.
Trump announced last week that his administration will cut off payments to insurance companies that allow for lower consumer costs under the Affordable Care Act. A bipartisan effort in Congress to restore the payments has run into opposition.
State attorneys general say they’ll immediately seek a court order to force the administration to keep paying health insurance subsidies that President Donald Trump has ordered stopped.
The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he and 18 counterparts will seek a temporary restraining order against the administration Wednesday in federal court in California. The administration would have 24 hours to respond to the demand from the state attorneys general, allowing for a speedy decision by the court.
The so-called “cost sharing subsidies” reimburse health insurers for reducing copays and deductibles for consumers with modest incomes. They’re under a legal cloud because of a suit previously filed by Republican foes of the Obama health care law.
A bipartisan effort in Congress to restore the payments has run into opposition.
A leading sponsor of a bipartisan Senate deal to steady health insurance markets says President Donald Trump has told him he may want to change the agreement before he supports it.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says Trump called him Wednesday morning to discuss the accord with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. It would continue federal payments to insurers that Trump has blocked and make it easier for insurers to skirt some coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Alexander says in an interview that Trump told him he will review the deal and may want to add something to it and include it in a larger piece of legislation. He provided no detail.
Asked if Trump backs his proposal, Alexander says, “You’ll have to ask him.”
President Donald Trump is criticizing a bipartisan Senate deal to curb the growth of insurance premiums.
Trump says on Twitter Wednesday that he “can never support bailing out” insurance companies that have “made a fortune” under so-called Obamacare.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to resume federal payments to health insurers that Trump had halted. Trump spoke favorably of the deal Tuesday but then later in the day reversed course.
Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that he is “supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co’s who have made a fortune w/ O’Care.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander says President Donald Trump called him Wednesday morning “to be encouraging” of bipartisan efforts to come up with a plan to stabilize health insurance premiums after Trump stopped them.
Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to resume federal payments to health insurers that Trump had halted. Insurers had warned that unless the money was quickly restored, premiums would go up and prompt some carriers to abandon unprofitable markets.
Trump had spoken favorably of the deal Tuesday but then later in the day reversed course.
Alexander said Wednesday that Trump “wanted to be encouraging” in the Wednesday phone call and is still reviewing the bipartisan deal. Alexander said “I think he wants to reserve his options.”
Alexander predicts his deal will pass “in one form or another” by years end.
A bipartisan Senate deal to curb the growth of health insurance premiums is reeling after President Donald Trump reversed course and opposed the agreement and top congressional Republicans and conservatives gave it a frosty reception.
Sens. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, and Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, announced their accord Tuesday after weeks of negotiations and five days after Trump said he was halting federal subsidies to insurers.
Under the lawmakers’ agreement, the payments would continue for two years while states were given more leeway to let insurers sidestep some coverage requirements imposed by President Barack Obama’s health care law.