Schumer says Senate votes are there for health care deal

All 48 Democrats in the Senate would vote in favor of the bipartisan health care proposal that, in part, calls for resuming federal subsidies to insurers, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

“This is a good compromise,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It took months to work out. It has a majority. It has 60 senators supporting it.”

Republicans have failed a number of times trying to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Schumer said beside the 48 Democrats, 12 Republicans support the measure by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

The two said their plan had 24 sponsors, divided evenly between both parties, for resuming federal subsidies to insurers.

Trump has blocked the money and without it, insurers are already raising premiums for many buying individual coverage and could flee unprofitable markets.

ObamaCare requires insurers to reimburse poorer customers for out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-pays. It helps around 6 million people.

The law also obliges the government to repay carriers for those costs, around $7 billion this year. A federal judge concluded that Congress never properly approved the money, but Obama and Trump continued the payments until Trump halted them last week.

The Alexander-Murray agreement extends the payments for two years. It gives states additional flexibility under Obama’s law and allows consumers of any age to buy low-cost catastrophic coverage plans.

When the two senators unveiled their agreement earlier this week, the president initially reacted favorably but then condemned the deal as a bailout for insurers.

Questioned in the Oval Office on Thursday, the president again sounded lukewarm.

“It’ll be absolutely short term,” Trump said of the bipartisan plan, “because, ultimately, we will be, it’s going to be repeal and replace.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report