GOP chairman opens door to Democrats on ObamaCare

A Senate chairman on Tuesday took a significant step toward working with Democrats on stabilizing a core facet of ObamaCare — the healthcare exchanges.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who helms the Senate Health Committee, announced he will hold bipartisan hearings during the first week of September on strengthening ObamaCare’s individual markets for 2018. The goal: to craft a bipartisan, short-term proposal by mid-September.

The announcement came just days after the Senate failed to pass a scaled-down version of an ObamaCare repeal bill and could deepen the divisions that have plagued the party throughout the repeal-and-replace effort.

The hearings will give Democrats — particularly Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the committee’s ranking member — a seat at the negotiating table on healthcare for the first time, opening up a process that, to this point, has been tightly controlled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

President Trump has suggested he’ll let ObamaCare implode, but in working with Democrats, Alexander is actively trying to prevent that from happening.

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