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Congress's federal-spending bill will include an Obamacare fix
A bipartisan measure to restore Obamacare's subsidies to health insurers will be part and parcel of a spending bill that Congress has to pass this week to keep the government from shutting down.
By Rick Docksai
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — A must-pass Congressional Resolution to keep the federal government funded past this week will include funding to restore subsidies to insurers for Obamcare insurance plans, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told reporters Friday. Alexander, who co-sponsored with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said that the consumers will suffer premium hikes without it.

"(Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell has pledged to put Alexander-Murray on the spending bill that will also pass next week," Alexander said, according to audioposted byNashville Public Radio.

The bill, which Murray and Alexander introduced in October, brings back subsidies that the Affordable Care Act had implemented and that President Trump had cut off. Sen. Susan Collins cosponsored a similar measure with Ben Nelson (D-Fla.).

Collins also made McConnell and other Congressional Republican leaders promise to push her bill and the Alexander-Murray bill through in exchange for her support on the GOP tax bill. The tax bill repeals the Affordable Care Act's requirementthat all Americans obtain health insurance or else pay fines, and analysts have estimated that13 million or more Americans might drop their insurance plans if the requirement went away.Since the Americans who keep their plans would consist disproportionately of people with costly health conditions, insurers would likely raise their premiums to make up for the lost business.

The spending resolution, with the Alexander-Murray bill attached, must pass by Friday or the government will shut down. The time crunch could force a showdown with many conservative House Republicans who oppose the subsidies.

It might encounter resistance from Democrats, as well. A Senate Democratic aide told The Hill that the subsidies would not make up for the "damage" of the Obamacare insurance-mandate repeal and thus "I don't see a CR (Congressional Resolution) loaded up with health provisions passing both chambers."