The Latest: States get involved in health care court case

The Latest: States get involved in health care court case

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Obama health law (all times EDT):

8:30 p.m.

A federal appeals court in Washington has agreed to let a group of states get involved in a lawsuit over government payments to insurers as part of the Obama administration's health care law. It's an intervention House Republicans had opposed.

House Republicans trying to thwart the Affordable Care Act sued the administration in federal court in 2014, arguing the law lacked specific language appropriating the "cost-sharing" subsidies. A district court judge agreed with House Republicans but the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

On Tuesday, the court allowed a group of state attorneys general to join in the case, in defense of the subsidies. In an order, the court says the states have "demonstrated the appropriateness of their intervention."


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 the two sides could address together. But his comments followed last week's crumpling of the Senate Republican effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law.

In remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday, Cornyn cited "fragile majorities" in the Senate and said "we are forced to work together to try to solve these problems." He added that he believes bipartisan solutions "tend to be more durable."

Along those lines, Senate GOP health committee chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee discussed health care Tuesday at a private meeting with the panel's top Democrat, Patty Murray of Washington.


12 p.m.

The Senate's top Democrat says President Donald Trump's threats to block federal payments to insurers are "not frankly what an adult does" and would boost consumers' premiums.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made the comments as Washington waits to see if Trump will halt the expenditures.

President Barack Obama's law requires insurers to lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of lower- and middle-income consumers. A court has ruled that Congress hasn't properly authorized the money. Trump has continued the payments until now.

Trump and Republicans call the expenditures bailouts for insurers.

The insurance industry notes they're legally required to reduce many customers' costs. It says blocking the federal payments would cause them to boost premiums by around 20 percent.

Schumer says Trump would be to blame if that happens.


3:30 a.m.

Top Senate Republicans think it's time to leave their derailed drive to scrap the Obama health care law behind them.

And they're tired of the White House prodding them to keep voting on it until they succeed.

Several GOP leaders say that at least for now, they see no clear route to the 50 votes they'd need to get something — anything — recasting President Barack Obama's health care statute through the Senate.

Their drive crashed last week. And their mood didn't improve after a weekend of tweets by President Donald Trump saying they "look like fools" and White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney using TV appearances to say they should continue voting.

No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas says Mulvaney should "let us do our jobs."

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