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Alexander-Murray a 'nonstarter,' say House conservatives

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Health & Fitness

WASHINGTON -- House conservatives appear united in opposition to the health care stabilization proposal crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray.

"Right now it's a nonstarter," House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat said Tuesday during a Conversations with Conservatives press event.

Brat, Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker and Rep. Matt Gaetz all spoke to their opposition to the bipartisan accord.

One aspect of the plan that conservatives oppose is the funding of cost-sharing reduction subsidies that the federal government pays to insurance companies to keep costs down for low-income individuals.

"You know who's hurting under Obamacare?" Walker said. "The American people, not insurance companies."

Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady announced an alternative plan to fund the health care law's cost-sharing reduction payments with conservative changes to the law, including relief from the individual and employer mandates. The two say they will release legislative text in the coming days.

The conservatives' opposition is backed by Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who said through a spokesman last week that the Senate should remain focused on repealing the 2010 law, not propping it up.

With President Donald Trump also raising concerns about the deal, it's possible it may never make it out of the Senate.

"I see it playing out by not playing out," Perry said.

(Mary Ellen McIntire contributed to this report.)

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