Bipartisan Senate efforts to craft a scaled down healthcare bill will continue through August, according to the chairman of the Senate Health Committee.
Health Committee leaders set Sept. 4 as the first date for healthcare hearings.
“We’ll be working all during August — we have to call the witnesses — we’re going to have governors, they are busy people so we’re trying to find a date where they can come,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the committee’s chairman.
“There’ve been several meetings of senators, there’s another one tonight,” Alexander added on Wednesday. He said there was also a bipartisan group meeting on Tuesday night.
At least one Senate Democrat is optimistic about the bipartisan effort.
“We have a lot of bipartisan discussions going on right now, more than we’ve had in months, popping up all over the place, it’s terrific,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said.
Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the committee, said they have a “shared goal” for the discussions: “To by the middle of September try to have a consensus on a limited bipartisan bill that would stabilize the individual market.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the healthcare effort is “not dead” after the Senate failed to pass a “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill at the end of July.
However, Republicans will have to accept that the word “repeal” is a non-starter for Democrats, according to Hatch.
“Let’s not talk in terms of repeal. If we replace it that’s what we’re going have to do, we’re going to have to replace it. As far as repeal, who cares about words?” Hatch said to reporters.
Watch the video above to hear the senators in their own words.
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