Republicans push new deal on ACA payments, ending mandates

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(Bloomberg) – Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Kevin Brady, top Republican lawmakers, unveiled a new proposal to shore up the Affordable Care Act, challenging a separate bipartisan compromise among their fellow lawmakers.

The legislation would roll back coverage mandates that supporters of the health law say are critical to its success.

Hatch and Brady said their deal includes funding for insurer subsidies for two years, with unspecified “pro-life protections”; pausing Obamacare’s requirements that all people have health insurance and that employers offer it; and increasing the contribution limit for health-savings accounts.

The announcement is an effort to turn the debate over Obamacare, as the health law is known, in a more conservative direction, after Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and his Democratic counterpart Patty Murray, of Washington reached a deal to fund cost-sharing subsidies and provide states with more flexibility to run their own insurance markets.

While that deal gained the backing of at least 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had signaled he might not bring it to the floor amid doubt over whether President Donald Trump would sign it.

“If Congress is going to appropriate funds for CSRs, we must include meaningful structural reforms that provide Americans relief from Obamacare,” Hatch, a Utah Republican who heads the Senate Finance Committee, said in the statement. “This agreement addresses some of the most egregious aspects of Obamacare.”

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