Lots of talk, little action on curbing health care costs

Lots of talk, little action on curbing health care costs
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2018, file photo, dawn breaks over the Capitol in Washington. The once bipartisan drive to curb increases in health care premiums has devolved into a partisan struggle with escalating demands by each side. It’s unclear they’ll be able to reach an agreement. And the two parties may end up blaming each other this fall as states announce next year’s inevitably higher insurance rates _ just weeks before Election Day on Nov. 6. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is searching for a way to curb soaring health care premiums. But the effort is faltering.

Each party is making escalating demands. Democrats want to strengthen President Barack Obama's health care law by enlarging federal subsidies for consumers. Republicans are still waging war against that statute and want to relax its coverage requirements and win abortion restrictions.

As a result, the whole effort could collapse.

That would leave each side blaming the other when next year's expected higher insurance rates are announced — just weeks before Election Day on Nov. 6.

Some Democrats think they'd benefit if the talks collapse. Polls show Obama's statute is widely popular and the public would largely fault President Donald Trump and Republicans controlling Congress if consumer costs spiral skyward.

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