McConnell: If GOP Health Bill Dies, Bipartisan Fix Will Be Needed

If Senate Republicans can’t get the 50 votes required to get an Obamacare repeal and replacement over the finish line, they may have to work with Democrats to repair the existing marketplace, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday.

“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 Glasgow, Ky. Thursday according to the Associated Press. McConnell made the comment after he was asked about bipartisan cooperation.

“No action is not an alternative,” McConnell said. “We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., jumped on the Republican leader’s comments, saying McConnell “opened the door to bipartisan solutions.”

“It’s encouraging that Sen. McConnell today acknowledged that the issues with the exchanges are fixable,” Schumer said. “Democrats are eager to work with Republicans to stabilize the markets and improve the law.”

McConnell has raised the idea of working with Democrats previously, but more as a warning than a possibility.

Last week at the White House McConnell said senators have two options for dealing with health care.

“Either Republicans will agree and change the status quo, or the markets will continue to collapse and we’ll have to sit down with Senator Schumer,” McConnell said. “My suspicion is that any negotiation with the Democrats would include none of the reforms that we would like to make.”

McConnell’s comments Thursday came as Republicans struggle to coalesce around a plan.

Because the GOP has such a slim majority in the Senate they can only lose two votes and still pass the bill without Democratic support. Right now, more than a half dozen Republicans have said they won’t vote for the draft legislation and others have expressed concerns. A vote planned for before the July Fourth recess was postponed after it became clear there was not enough Republican support for it to pass.

Source Link