Bipartisan senators reach health care deal on insurers’ cost-sharing

WASHINGTON — A leading Republican senator says he and a top Democrat have reached an agreement on a plan to extend federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked.

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee tells reporters that the next step will be for him and his negotiating partner — Democrat Patty Murray — to win enough support from colleagues to push it through Congress.

Earlier, Alexander said in an interview that he was nearing agreement with Murray to continue federal payments to insurers for two more years. In exchange, Republicans want Congress to give states flexibility to avoid some coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Trump halted the insurers’ payments last week, but has said he wants a bipartisan deal to continue them temporarily.