Senate Majority Leader signals openness to fixing—not replacing—Obamacare exchanges

The suggestion that Republicans improve the exchanges in the meantime instead of trying again to abolish them is a notion that a few other Republicans before McConnell have suggested.

Lucas Rowe | Jul 10, 2017

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that Republicans will have to work with Democrats to "bolster" Obamacare's insurance exchanges if the caucus isn't able to resolve disagreements over their stalled bill to abolish President Obama's signature health-care law. McConnell's made these remarks at the Rotary Club in Glasgow, Ky., according to the Associated Press.
"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," the Kentucky Republican said. "No action is not an alternative. We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state."
McConnell is still at work shoring up Republican votes for the Senate GOP's embattled Obamacare-repeal bill. A dozen GOP senators still express concerns about the bill as it is currently written. Their individual reasons vary, ranging from certain moderate Republicans' opposition to its cuts to Medicaid to certain hardline conservatives' complaints that it retains some Obamacare statutes such as the prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Unless the bill's authors can find ways to satisfy members of both camps, the bill's chances of garnering a majority vote are slim, according to GOP aides.
The suggestion that Republicans improve the exchanges in the meantime instead of trying again to abolish them is a notion that a few other Republicans before McConnell have suggested. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has said that Republicans could pass some short-term legislation to help stabilize the insurance markets until a later date when repealing Obamacare is more feasible.
"We might have to do some things and authorize some things in those two years that we wouldn't do long term," the Tennessee Republican has said. "And then in 2020, we would hope to have our long-term solution for the people that don't have the insurance."

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