Chuck Schumer and three other leading Democrats have challenged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work with them on an Obamacare fix instead of their repeal and replace plan. The Republicans are returning to Washington facing growing doubts that they will be able to pass their bill to overhaul the health-care system completely.
In a letter to McConnell, Schumer called on him to “focus on immediately advancing policies to provide stability and certainty to the health insurance markets.” The health insurance companies apparently asked Schumer to work with them in “advancing measures that would have an immediate impact on improving the health care system for American families.”
The Washington lawmakers will be returning from a Fourth of July break and will only have three weeks until a recess for August. The GOP leadership are still multiple votes short of the support needed to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act. They have been working hard on changes that could win over both the conservative and moderate wings on their party, but those factions still have competing concerns about how to improve the existing bill.
Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Monday that he expects a revised version the bill this week and still sees “a shot” of reaching the 50 votes needed to pass a plan.
The Republicans control 52 seats and can only lose two of their party’s votes and still pass the bill with a tie breaking vote from the vice president. But eight senators presently oppose the plan as written. Thus, the Democrats, led by Schumer, have seized the doubts about Republicans being able to pass the bill on their own.
McConnell acknowledged last week that a bill to stabilize insurance markets would be needed if Republicans cannot come to an agreement. “If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” McConnell said in Kentucky over the recess, according to the Associated Press.
The Democrats stand ready to work with Republicans on a “fix” for Obamacare. They have highlighted priorities such as “guaranteeing cost-sharing reduction payments, creating a permanent reinsurance program, addressing areas in the country without insurers, and easing the current cliff on cost-sharing subsidies.”
Do you think it’s time for GOP leaders to scrap their bill and begin working with Democrats on a “fix” for Obamacare?