Obamacare rescue bill draws 24 sponsors — Republicans and Democrats — in the Senate

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member, are seen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled 'Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs,' on October 19, 2017.

A bill that seeks to stabilize Obamacare markets by restoring key federal payments to health insurers has drawn 24 senators as sponsors, evenly split between Republicans and Democratic caucus members, lawmakers said Thursday.

Among the GOP co-sponsors are John McCain of Arizona, whose opposition to recent Republican Obamacare replacement bills helped doom them.

Joining McCain is his close friend, South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who together last month sponsored a last-ditch, failed bill, to replace Obamacare.

The announcement of the two dozen sponsors of the Alexander-Murray bill came on the heels of a new poll showing strong public support for restarting the payments to insurers.

But the deal as currently written faces opposition from Republican leaders in the House, and from President Donald Trump, who cut off the payments last week.

“We have reached an agreement on bipartisan legislation that will extend cost-sharing reduction payments during 2018 and 2019,” said Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.

The duo also said their bill will “protect consumers facing higher premiums this year, and give states meaningful flexibility to create greater choices among health insurance policies in the individual health insurance market.”

In addition to restoring the cost-sharing payments, the bill would give individual states flexibility in setting rules for what kind of health plans can be sold, and allow people of all ages to buy lower-cost, less-comprehensive catastrophic health insurance.

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