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McConnell: GOP Could Try Again On Health Care

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Republicans will get another chance to repeal Obamacare, despite the failure of a vote in the Senate in the early hours of July 28.

McConnell hinted at an Aug. 1 press conference that moves to come up with an alternative were under way, according to The Hill.

"We're continuing to score some of the options on healthcare," said McConnell, The Hill reported. "There's still an opportunity to do that."

McConnell lost the support of three GOP senators in the July 28 vote, meaning the Republican bill to overturn Obamacare was defeated 49-51.

"It's pretty obvious our problem on healthcare was not the Democrats," McConnell added. "We didn't have 50 Republicans."

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McConnell's remarks followed a call by President Donald Trump for Senate Republicans not to give up on health care. Trump even suggested the GOP should hold off on other matters until a solution is reached.

Others disagree, arguing it is time to move on.

"Obviously we didn't give up and we didn't quit and we gave it our best shot, and we can come back to this at a later time," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said.

John Cornyn, the Republicans' chief whip, reached out to the Democrats.

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"There's a lot the American people expect of us, but we've seen with fragile majorities in the Senate that we are forced to work together to try to solve these problems," said Cornyn. "And I think, frankly, bipartisan solutions tend to be more durable."

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington have already started work along these lines.

Alexander, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced that the committee would begin holding bipartisan hearings during the first week of September on the individual insurance market, which is part of Obamacare. Murray welcomed the announcement, which is aimed at reaching a short-term solution by the middle of the month, ahead of decisions by insurers on future premiums at the end of September.

The committee intends to question patients, health care experts, insurers, and governors.

One area likely to be discussed is cost-sharing reduction payments, which the government pays to insurers so they will subsidize out of pocket costs. Trump has threatened to cancel the payments, but Alexander has urged the president to maintain them until September so the Senate has a chance to come up with an alternative.

Sources: The Hill(2) / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, President Trump/Twitter, Seattle City Council/Flickr

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