Bipartisan health care fix sabotaged by GOP, Democrats charge



Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer
Yuri Gripas/Reuters

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Tuesday that
bipartisan talks around a bill
designed to stabilize the
Obamacare individual insurance
had fallen through
, prompting calls of sabotage from top
Democrats.

During the last month, we have worked hard and in good
faith, but we have not found the necessary consensus among
Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders’
hands that could be enacted,” said Alexander, the chair of the
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP)
Committee.

But Democrats say Republican leaders intentionally
submarined the attempt to provide security for insurers and
beneficiaries on the Obamacare marketplaces to aid a push for
their newest Obamacare repeal bill — the
Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) plan
.

“I am disappointed that Republican leaders have decided to
freeze this bipartisan approach and are trying to jam through a
partisan Trumpcare bill, but I am confident that we can reach a
deal if we keep working together — and I am committed to getting
that done,”
said Sen. Patty Murray
, the top Democrat on the HELP
Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office also
pinned the blame squarely on the Republican leadership for the
failure of the talks.

“This is not about substance. We gave them many of the
things they asked for, including copper plans and wide waiver
authority,” Matt House, a spokesperson for Schumer, said in a
statement. “The Republican leadership is so eager to pass
Graham-Cassidy that they’re scuttling a balanced, bipartisan
negotiation.”

Some top Republicans, like Senate Finance
Committee Chair Orrin Hatch and House Speaker Paul Ryan, publicly
said they would not consider the bipartisan legislation from
Alexander and Murray. The White House also reportedly pushed
against the proposal.

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