Republicans and Democrats may soon be forced to get along on health care.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to strike a deal by Friday as several moderate and conservative GOP senators oppose the Senate's current bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. While McConnell could still win over enough Republican members to pass his current plan, the prospect of the GOP having to work with Democrats to patch up Obamacare is increasing.
Moderate GOP senators like Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio have various concerns with the current bill. They want to blunt the effects of a Medicaid expansion rollback, curb the estimated number of people the plan leaves uninsured and get more help with the opioid crisis.
They have some common ground with Democrats, many of whom have said they are open to Obamacare tweaks that would aim to slow premium increases and stop the exodus of insurers from some states.
"I'm one that wants to work with my friends," moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told MSNBC on Thursday. "I've been reaching out, and Shelley and I have been speaking. Susan Collins and I have been speaking. Dean Heller and I have been speaking. We want to fix this thing. And [Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer wants to fix this thing."
The Republican Party has promised for most of a decade to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature achievement, and replace it with a new system. United Democratic opposition to any form of repeal means the GOP would have to pass its current plan with only Republican support.