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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans might have to negotiate with Democrats to pass a health care reform bill.
McConnell wants to keep working on both repealing and replacing Obamacare but admitted they may need to work across the aisle on short-term measures to stabilize insurance markets that are on the verge of collapse in many states.
When Congress returns to work on Monday, its proposed plan will be on life support. Its fate lies with just a handful of Republicans. One of them is Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).
“We have no choice but to work together to find a solution,” he told a town hall this week, saying the current bill misses the mark on rural health care. “While I’m elected as a Republican, I am the member of a minority. And that minority is Kansas. That minority is rural.”
Moran is one of 14 GOP senators who have concerns about the bill. Senate leaders only afford to lose two Republican votes. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-AI) urged a group of voters Friday not to worry about those numbers.
“Nothing happens in regard to Medicaid until 2020, and then there’s a gradual phase-in of the new program over the next five years,” he said.
Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted support for a plan to “immediately repeal” Obamacare and then work on a replacement “at a later date.”
But Sen. McConnell dismisses that option and still wants a deal.
“We have to solve the current crisis,” he said. “I think repealing and then delaying the replacement doesn’t work.”
He acknowledged that if a deal cannot be reached in the senate, they may have to work with Democrats to repair the existing marketplace.