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McConnell would allow Senate vote on bipartisan health plan if Trump backs it

By SARAH D. WIRE
Tribune Washington Bureau

October 22. 2017 10:35PM
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) stands in the subway on Capitol Hill in Washington last week. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that he's waiting to hear whether President Donald Trump will support a bipartisan health care proposal before bringing the measure up for a vote.

The plan to change parts of the Affordable Care Act and stabilize health insurance markets is backed by 12 Republican and 48 Democratic senators. It would reinstate federal payments to insurers that Trump cut off this month, offering millions of Americans some relief from rising premiums and shaky insurance markets. It would also give states some new flexibility to offer cheaper, less generous health plans.

“If there is a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the President will actually sign,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on CNN's “State of the Union.” “And I'm not certain yet what the President is looking for here, but I'll be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it.”

Trump has given conflicting signals on whether he will support the compromise worked out by Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and the committee's senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the plan, with the support of 60 senators, should be brought up for a vote immediately.

"We should pass it and pass it now," Schumer said.


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