Speed Reads

the health-care debate

Senators prepare health-care packages after Trump abruptly ends subsidy payments

Following President Trump's decision last week to end Affordable Care Act subsidy payments to insurance companies that lowered premiums for low-income customers, senators are moving to introduce new health-care packages aimed at stabilizing the potential turbulence from the executive order, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have been working on a highly anticipated bipartisan health-care plan for months, and are expected to introduce it "within days." That deal "would likely fund ObamaCare subsidies ... and provide states with more flexibility to change ObamaCare's requirements," Politico reports. Trump has reportedly signaled his approval of the bipartisan approach.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is also expected to introduce a more conservative alternative that might have a better shot in the Republican-held House. Johnson's proposal involves expanding health savings accounts and Congress making it "so anyone has the option to purchase a 'catastrophic plan' — insurance with relatively low premiums but high deductibles that provides fewer benefits," CNN reports.

Overall, Republicans generally support a response to Trump's executive order: "I think Congress should pass that short-term extension," said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). "We absolutely have to think about that family around the kitchen table."