Senators announce deal to save Obamacare one minute after Trump declares it dead

Republican and Democratic Senators have announced a bipartisan deal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act.

GOP Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — chairman of the Senate health committee — and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the committee, have reached an agreement whereby important cost-sharing reduction payments made to insurers would be extended for two years while states would widen the ability states have to change the Obamacare rules. The extension of the payments would reestablish billions of dollars in subsidiaries to stabilize Obamacare, while states would have more latitude in determining what health plan options are available to citizens.

The announcement comes after President Donald Trump said he was ending the payments last week, saying Obamacare was no more — which led to concerns that healthcare premiums would rise as fewer people would enroll in insurance programs. The deal puts back in place $106 million in outreach funding that Trump had slashed. In fact, the announcement came at the same time that Trump said that Obamacare was “dead.”

Trump intimated that he would support the deal as a “short-term” solution, but still came out in favor of his own executive orders to end the payments and utilize block grants to the states.

The deal still needs to be approved by Congress.

Trump’s move to cut the cost-sharing reduction payments led forecasts for next year’s Obamacare rates to increase dramatically in states that had taken advantage of the program.

The payments are designed to account for discounts that insurers are required to offer for low-income Affordable Care Act customers.