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Sen. Carper wants bipartisan health care bill

Delaware Public Media

After making concessions to moderates, Senate Republicans debuted an updated health care bill Thursday. But it’s unclear if this latest bill to replace and replacing the Affordable Care Act has the votes to pass.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) thinks bipartisan legislation is the answer.

The bill now allows insurers to sell stripped down health plans as long as they have qualifying plans already on the state insurance exchanges.

With no support from Democrats and 50 out of 52 possible GOP votes needed, the bill walks the fine line of trying to please both hard line and moderate Republicans and still garner the support needed.

Speaking to NPR, Carper said he and fellow Democrats are willing to reach across the aisle to work on a bipartisan health bill.

"We ought to do it not as Democrats, not as Republicans. This is something we ought to do together."

He wants lawmakers to hit the pause button and work on improving the ACA instead of scrapping it. 

"One: fix the things in the Affordable Care Act that need to be fixed. Two: retain the stuff that ought to be retained. Three: there’s some things that ought to be dropped; let’s drop them."

Carper's counterpart, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) released a statement Thursday calling the GOP bill a step backwards decrying the amendment allowing insurers to sell "junk health insurance plans."

"Additionally, this bill still includes dramatic cuts to Medicaid, a critical program relied on by over 220,000 children, low-income individuals, individuals with disabilities, and seniors in Delaware," Coons said.

He also calls for a new bipartisan health care bill.

Senate leadership hopes to drum up enough support to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

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