fix@ (Adds Trump quotes, Senate aide on bipartisan negotiations)
WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that Republicans and Democrats in Congress are working on a short-term fix for healthcare insurance markets after he last week scrapped subsidies to insurers.
Trump, speaking to reporters at the start of a meeting with his cabinet, said he believes congressional Republicans will agree to a long-term fix for healthcare by March or April, but said he does not expect Democrats to support that effort.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray have been trying to craft a bipartisan deal aimed at helping stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
A Senate Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations said on Monday that the two senators were nearing a deal.
It was not clear whether Trump was referring to their effort in his remarks.
"I knocked out the CSRs," Trump said, referring to the government's cost-sharing reduction payments made to insurance companies to help lower-income people buy health insurance under Obamacare.
The subsidies cost $7 billion this year and were estimated at $10 billion for 2018, according to congressional analysts.
Trump criticized those subsidies as "a disgrace" and "a total gift" to insurers, while Democrats said Trump's move to cancel the payments would hurt poor and middle-class people and drive up premiums significantly.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Richard Cowan and Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Mary Milliken)