Republicans are still reeling from their second failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. However, it doesn’t seem that GOP leaders are quite ready to admit defeat yet in their battle to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system. Instead, it now appears that Republican congress members may not be looking to take a bipartisan approach to healthcare.
Speaking over the past weekend at the infamous Fancy Farm picnic event in his home state of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that the Republican Party could make one more attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare. However, he also admitted that the chances of passing any healthcare legislation are growing smaller and smaller by the day, and for this reason, he and his Republican colleagues would now consider working with Democrats to overhaul the healthcare system.
Specifically, McConnell noted that Republic Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has been working together with Democrats to come up with a bipartisan solution to the nation’s current healthcare crisis. Alexander himself has previously stated that he has been working closely with Washington Democratic Senator Patty Washington on a bill that would allow the government to provide subsidies to insurance companies until 2018 in order to potentially avoid the uncertainty that is currently causing insurance premiums to skyrocket in some states.
McConnell, Alexander and other Republicans have already stated that they would be willing to work with Democrats on healthcare as long as the Democrats are willing to accept making some concrete reforms to the current healthcare system instead of simply trying to bail out the insurance companies. In this sense, it seems that the Republicans may finally be willing to compromise after realizing that a bipartisan approach may be their only hopes of actually passing any meaningful healthcare laws.
In exchange for agreeing to provide government subsidies to insurance companies to prevent them from pulling out of the state insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act, Republicans expect Democrats to agree to provisions that make it easier for each state to set its own health insurance coverage standards instead of continuing to use the coverage standards set up by Obamacare.
For much of the past eight years, many Republican candidates have focused their campaigns heavily on the idea of repealing Obamacare. In this sense, the fact that the Republican leadership is admitting that they may need to work with Democrats in order to pass any meaningful healthcare bills means that some conservative voters may end up feeling betrayed if the GOP can’t find a way to pass a new healthcare bill on its own.