The bipartisan effort to find a fix for ObamaCare is officially over, according to the Senate Health Committee chairman. On Tuesday Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released a statement ending the work being done across the aisles.
“During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders’ hands that could be enacted,” Alexander wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) office dismissed Alexander’s statement about the bipartisan efforts, saying the announcement was “not about substance.” Schumer then referenced the last-ditch GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act being pushed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
“We gave them many of the things they asked for, including copper plans and wide waiver authority. The Republican leadership is so eager to pass Graham-Cassidy that they’re scuttling a balanced, bipartisan negotiation,” Schumer spokesman Matt House said in a statement.
This issue is so polarizing that coming up with a bipartisan approach was a small probability. But the effort reached its end when this new GOP bill to repeal and replace starting gaining momentum and support.
Alexander not only referenced the GOP bill, but he also put some blame for ending the bipartisan effort on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). His announcement of the single-payer legislation last week added to the partisan atmosphere.
The nail in the coffin came when Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the White House said they would not agree to a bipartisan deal out of the committee because they feared a “bailout” of ObamaCare.
The goal of the bipartisan deal was to give funding for key ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions in exchange for new flexibility for states. Democrats blamed Republican leadership for squashing the health committee’s bipartisan effort to make way for the new repeal effort.
“I am disappointed that Republican leaders have decided to freeze this bipartisan approach and are trying to jam through a partisan Trumpcare bill, but I am confident that we can reach a deal if we keep working together — and I am committed to getting that done,” Senator Pat Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.
What are your thoughts about the bipartisan effort being canned?
Credit: The Hill