McConnell to consider bipartisan plan to pay health insurers

Adam Beam

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell greets constituents at the Graves County Republican Breakfast in Mayfield, Ky., on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. McConnell told Republicans not to be disheartened by the Senate's failure to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, telling them: “We're not through.” (AP Photo/Adam Beam)

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) — A week after an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’d consider a bipartisan effort to continue payments to insurers to avert a costly rattling of health insurance markets.

McConnell told reporters Saturday there is “still a chance” the Senate could revive the measure to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” but he acknowledged the window for that is rapidly closing.

The Kentucky senator noted Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is working on “some kind of bipartisan approach” that would involve subsidies for insurance companies.

Alexander recently said he will work with the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, on a bill next month that would pay insurers through 2018. In exchange, Alexander wants Democrats to agree to make it easier for states to choose their own health coverage standards that insurers must provide rather than abiding by former President Barack Obama’s law.

“If the Democrats are willing to support some real reforms rather than just an insurance company bailout, I would be willing to take a look at it,” McConnell said, hours before he was expected to speak at the famously raucous Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky.

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