The Senate health committee chairman on Tuesday released a statement ending a bipartisan effort to find an ObamaCare fix amid a new GOP push to repeal the law.
“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,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate health committee, said in a statement.
The effort at a bipartisan deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets had always faced headwinds, given the polarizing nature of the issue. But the effort faced even higher obstacles in recent days as Republicans refocused on a GOP-only effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
That atmosphere made it very difficult to work in a bipartisan way on the law. Alexander acknowledged that to reporters earlier on Tuesday, and also blamed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) announcement of single payer legislation last week for creating a partisan atmosphere as well.
The announcement comes after Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the White House said that they would not agree to a bipartisan deal out of the committee, fearing a “bailout” of ObamaCare.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the committee, had tried to keep the talks alive.
Democrats said earlier on Tuesday that they had made concessions to Republicans on giving flexibility to states to change ObamaCare rules.
The goal of the bipartisan deal was to provide funding for key ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions in exchange for new flexibility for states.