Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if Republicans cannot pass the leadership’s Senate healthcare bill, then he will broker a deal with Democrats instead.
McConnell admitted, “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. No action is not an alternative. … We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”
A separate healthcare bill designed to bolster the Obamacare insurance marketplace might require 60 votes, compared to the current repeal efforts in the Senate which only require a simple majority of 51 votes. If McConnell wants to bolster the insurance markets through a separate healthcare bill, he would need the help of Democrats to pass the bill.
The Majority Leader canceled the previous vote after at least five moderate and conservative senators opposed the bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Conservative senators such as Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) argued that the bill did not do enough to repeal Obamacare, while moderate senators such as Susan Collins (R-ME) and Dean Heller (R-NV) worried about the BCRA’s rollback of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) signaled that he would support a bipartisan bill to stabilize the health insurance market. Schumer said, “It’s encouraging that Sen. McConnell today acknowledged that the issues with the exchanges are fixable, and opened the door to bipartisan solutions to improve our health care system. As we’ve said time and time again, Democrats are eager to work with Republicans to stabilize the markets and improve the law. At the top of the list should be ensuring cost-sharing payments are permanent, which will protect health care for millions.”
McConnell’s recent remark serves as a stark contrast from his 2014 campaign election, when he said would repeal Obamacare “root and branch.”
Further, McConnell’s bipartisan bill strategy differs from President Donald Trump’s recent suggestion that if Republicans remain unable to pass the BCRA, then they should repeal and then replace Obamacare.
Senator Rand Paul and Ben Sasse (R-NE) also support the strategy to repeal and then replace Obamacare.
If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017