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Senators announce bipartisan health care deal, Trump endorses

Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in Health & Fitness

WASHINGTON -- Key senators announced a bipartisan deal Tuesday to fix parts of the nation's health care law and head off large premium increases faced by consumers in some states.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health Committee, announced the tentative agreement with the top Democrat on the panel, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

The agreement would continue cost-sharing payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump eliminated last week.

"President Trump has encouraged this," Alexander told reporters.

Trump, at a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, appeared to endorse the deal: "We have been involved, and this is a short-term deal," he said, adding that it would last for "the next year or two" so that "we don't have this dangerous little period."

Alexander said he spoke to the president twice recently, including Saturday, when Trump encouraged him to find a bipartisan solution.

"He said he doesn't want people to be hurt during these next two years by the possibility of rising premiums or by not being able to buy insurance," Alexander said.

Alexander and Murray have been working for months on a proposal that would allow the Obamacare payments to insurers, which help offset costs for low-income Americans, to continue. In return, Congress would make changes to allow states greater ability to waive certain insurer policy requirements to allow for cheaper plans. Specific legislation is expected to be introduced later this week.

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