The Slatest

Don’t Tell the President, but Congress Is Quietly Planning a Bipartisan, Non-Insane Health Care Bill

Republican Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander (right) and Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Republican Party attempted to follow through on promises it had been cynically making its most extreme voters for years by rushing through a destructive, wildly unpopular Affordable Care Act repeal proposal. That effort failed, barely, and now something quite strange is happening: Republicans in Congress are soliciting Democratic input in an effort to draft a modest, reasonable health care bill that will tangibly improve Americans’ lives. USA Today has the bizarre story:

Senators looking for ways to stabilize the individual health insurance market will hear from governors and state health insurance commissioners at their first bipartisan hearings next month.


The hearings, set for Sept. 6-7, will focus on stabilizing premiums and helping people in the individual market.

On Wednesday, the committee holding the hearings—the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, led by Republican Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray—announced that three Republican governors and two Democratic governors will testify. (Under the Affordable Care Act, individual insurance is sold through state-level exchanges and, as Politico reported earlier this week, officials in both “red and blue states” have “hustled” to ensure that at least one coverage option will be available to their residents despite the chaos in D.C. Only one county in the country currently lacks coverage.)

In the bigger picture, meanwhile, Democrats—who have in the past downplayed or ignored the Affordable Care Act’s flaws—are preparing ambitious-but-practical coverage expansion proposals of their own for voters to consider in 2018.

Trump will ruin all of this, no doubt, with Twitter, and racism.