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Lamar Alexander
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. listens to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, during the committee's hearing looking at ways to fix the No Child Left Behind law. Alexander said he is open to discussion on whether the federal government should dictate standardized testing or leave it up to states. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Lamar Alexander announced bipartisan health care hearings


Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced Tuesday that the Senate health committee will hold bipartisan health care hearings on how to repair the individual market.

Alexander, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said the goal is to come up with a solution to the individual health care market by mid-September, before insurers have to sign contracts with the federal government for 2018 over what insurance plans to sell.

“There are a number of issues with the American health care system, but if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire, in this case, is the individual health insurance market," Alexander said in a statement. "Both Republicans and Democrats agree on this."

The hearings will include speeches from patients, governors, health care experts and insurance companies.

Alexander said that nearly 18 million Americans who get insurance in the individual market may be affected if they do not resolve these issues.

"Unless we act, many of them may not have policies available to buy in 2018 because insurance companies will pull out of collapsing markets," Alexander said.

This is the latest attempt for lawmakers on both sides to work together in order to find a solution on health care. A House bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, consisting of 43 Republicans and Democrats, on Monday announced a series of proposals designed to fix problems within the Affordable Care Act.

“The last great hope for this country is that Republicans and Democrats prove they can work together,” Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), co-chairman of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said in a statement.

President Trump has taken a hard stance on ending Obamacare. The president took to Twitter over the weekend to tell insurance companies and lawmakers he would put an end to bailouts if they did not approve a new health care bill.

Alexander urged the president to continue the cost-sharing reduction payments through September.

“As we prepare for these discussions, I have also urged the president to temporarily continue the cost-sharing reduction payments through September so that Congress can work on a short- term solution for stabilizing the individual market in 2018," he said.

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