The Latest: Senators seek ways to fortify insurance markets

The Latest on the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Obama health law (all times local):

7 p.m.

There are signs of a modest bipartisan effort to buttress health insurance markets, four days after the GOP effort to uproot and reshape the Obama health care law crumpled in the Senate.

The Republican chairman of the Senate health committee, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, says he’ll seek bipartisan legislation extending for one year federal payments to insurers that help millions of low- and moderate-income Americans afford coverage.

President Donald Trump has threatened to halt those subsidies in hopes of forcing Democrats to make concessions. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York says that’s “not what an adult does.”


3:05 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is answering President Donald Trump’s call for a change in Senate rules with a dose of political reality.

The Republican leader told reporters on Tuesday that the reason for the collapse of health care legislation was not Democrats in opposition, but rather, “we didn’t have 50 Republicans.”

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that Republicans should change the rules on legislation and reduce the 60-vote threshold to eliminate possible filibusters. His tweets came after the failure of health care legislation on a razor-thin margin of 51-49 on Friday.

McConnell said there are not enough votes to change the rules in the Senate. He said, “The votes are simply not there.”


2:55 p.m.

The chairman of the Senate health committee says he wants his panel to approve a one-year extension of federal payments to insurers so they can curb out-of-pocket health care costs for millions of Americans.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says he wants his committee to pass a bipartisan bill doing that by mid-September. He says he’s asked President Donald Trump to continue the payments in August and September to give his panel time to do its work.

Trump has called those payments bailouts for insurers. He’s threatened to halt them to force Democrats to negotiate with him over repealing and replacing the Obama health care law.

Democrats, the insurance industry and some Republicans say halting those subsidies would roil insurance markets and boost premiums for many consumers.


12:40 p.m.

The No. 2 Senate Republican leader seemed to suggest that the two parties should try working together on health care.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas did not specify what issues…

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