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On Senate floor, Sens. Murray & Alexander announce bipartisan deal to stabilize & strengthen care   

Bipartisan deal negotiated by Sens. Murray and Alexander: Funds payments to help lower costs for families – Provides added flexibility to states while protecting essential health benefits for patients – Restores investments for open enrollment outreach

Bipartisan deal reflects input from patients, governors, hospitals, insurers & majority of Senate members

Sen. Murray: “This is an agreement that I am proud to support—not only because of these important steps to strengthen our health care system—but because of the message it sends about the best way to get things done in Congress”

***WATCH SEN. MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) –  U. S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, and the committee’s chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced they had reached a bipartisan deal to stabilize health care markets and protect patients and families from premium spikes as a result of all the uncertainty the Trump Administration has caused. Sen. Murray has been fighting for a bipartisan path forward on health care for months. Since the start of the year, she has met with countless patients and doctors at hospitals and community health centers across Washington state to gain valuable insight, and she was pleased to invite Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to testify at a recent Senate hearing.

In her speech today on the Senate floor, Sen. Murray applauded efforts by Senators—on both sides of the aisle—to reach an agreement: “I hope [this] will set the health care discussion in Congress on a very different path than the one we’ve seen for the last seven years.”

Watch video of Sen. Murray’s Remarks HERE.

Key excerpts of Sen. Murray’s remarks on the Senate floor (as prepared for delivery):

I’m glad both Democrats and Republicans agreed to work together to address this…

And I’m extremely pleased that, with the input of members on both sides of the aisle, as well as governors, patients, and advocates, we were able to reach an agreement that I hope will set the health care discussion in Congress on a very different path than the one we’ve seen for the last seven years.

This agreement provides certainty on out-of-cost reduction payments for the next two years.

It will address attempts by this Administration to keep people from getting enrolled in care they need.

And it takes a number of strong, bipartisan steps to offer states more flexibility to innovate in the way the Affordable Care Act intended—without undermining essential health benefits like maternity care or mental health coverage, or burdening people with pre-existing conditions.

This is an agreement that I am proud to support—not only because of these important steps to strengthen our health care system—but because of the message it sends about the best way to get things done in Congress.

The way to deliver a result, as Chairman Alexander often says, for patients and families—is to work under regular order.

To find common ground, rather than retreating to partisan corners…

To hear from experts, families, and members on both sides of the aisle—rather than reciting talking points at each other…

And we know that’s true because just a month ago, the idea of an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on health care seemed improbable at best—if not impossible.

Thanks to the strong bipartisan work of Chairman Alexander and so many other members, we’ve been able to bridge the divide.

Full text of Sen. Murray’s remarks on Senate floor (as prepared for delivery):

Thank you, Chairman Alexander.

As I’ve said before, I’m so grateful for your leadership in starting a bipartisan discussion, under regular order, in the health committee—and for your determination in seeing it through to this point.

I remember very clearly that back in July, when it was clear that so-called “skinny repeal” didn’t have the votes to pass…

We talked right then and there about getting to work on ways to stabilize health care markets and protect patients and families from premium spikes as a result of all the uncertainty this Administration has caused.

We were able to engage nearly half the Senate in our hearings and conversations on the health committee…

And we found there was much more we agreed on than disagreed on when it came to strengthening health care and controlling costs in the near term.

Since then, actions by the Administration have made our work even more urgent.

So M. President—I’m glad both Democrats and Republicans agreed to work together to address this…

And I’m extremely pleased that, with the input of members on both sides of the aisle, as well as governors, patients, and advocates, we were able to reach an agreement that I hope will set the health care discussion in Congress on a very different path than the one we’ve seen for the last seven years.

This agreement provides certainty on out-of-pocket reduction payments for the next two years.

It will address attempts by this Administration to keep people from getting enrolled in care they need.

And it takes a number of strong, bipartisan steps to offer states more flexibility to innovate in the way the Affordable Care Act intended—without undermining essential health benefits like maternity care or mental health coverage, or burdening people with pre-existing conditions.

This is an agreement that I am proud to support—not only because of these important steps to strengthen our health care system—but because of the message it sends about the best way to get things done in Congress.

The way to deliver a result, as Chairman Alexander often says, for patients and families—is to work under regular order.

To find common ground, rather than retreating to partisan corners…

To hear from experts, families, and members on both sides of the aisle—rather than reciting talking points at each other…

And we know that’s true because just a month ago, the idea of an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on health care seemed improbable at best—if not impossible.

Thanks to the strong bipartisan work of Chairman Alexander and so many other members, we’ve been able to bridge the divide.

I strongly believe that patients and families in every state across our country will be stronger if we can get this agreement signed into law—and I urge all of my colleagues to not only support it, but continue working together—because there’s no question there is a lot more to do.

Thank you again to Chairman Alexander and all of the Republicans and Democrats who have been so engaged in this effort, and I yield the floor.