Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he would be willing to work with Republicans on health care reform.
But before Democrats even think about considering a GOP health care alternative, Schumer wants to make sure two aspects of the Affordable Care Act remain intact: Obamacare subsidies and insurance company bailouts.
"At the very beginning, we should stabilize the system," Schumer said Friday, the Washington Examiner reported. "Make permanent the cost sharing, which keeps premiums low."
Schumer said Senate Democrats also want to ensure insurance companies will receive a bailout, something Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) proposed in May, USA Today reported.
Once Republicans agree to those terms, Schumer says, Democrats are willing to "sit down and trade ideas."
"There has to be a give and take," Schumer said. "My colleagues and my caucus know that."
Schumer said Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) vote against the "skinny repeal" of Obamacare might have been the push both parties needed to come together to compromise.
"Sometimes you need a spark that inspires the forces of coming together that outweigh the forces of pulling part," Schumer said. "And John McCain may have done that."
McCain's vote against the Senate health care bill surprised many.
"Our inability to address the pressing health care needs of the American people with meaningful and lasting reform is inexcusable," McCain said in a statement Friday. He continued:
The vote last night presents the Senate with an opportunity to start fresh. It is now time to return to regular order with input from all of our members — Republicans and Democrats — and bring a bill to the floor of the Senate for amendment and debate. I have great faith in the ability of the Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, the Senator from Washington, Patty Murray, and others to work together in a bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to trust each other, stop the political gamesmanship, and put the health care needs of the American people first. We can do this.
Schumer took to Twitter to explain the next steps the Senate must take to ensure health care reform continues to move forward.
An update on last night. First: I want to thank Sens. Murkowski, Collins, and McCain for showing such courage, strength, and principle.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258404.0
To my Democratic colleagues: your determination to protect health care was a sight to see. I'm so proud of our work.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258434.0
To everyone who called, tweeted, emailed, and raised their voice in any way: thank you. Your stories matter. They matter a great deal.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258465.0
But we are not celebrating. We are relieved--for the millions of Americans who can keep their insurance and breathe a little easier.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258544.0
Now, it's time for the Senate to come together in a bipartisan way to fix the problems that exist in our healthcare system.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258582.0
We can stabilize the markets through funding cost sharing reduction & creating reinsurance programs, which keeps premiums, deductibles down.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258606.0
We should sit down and trade ideas with our Republican colleagues.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258630.0
This is how the Senate works. This is 'regular order.' We can work together. We will. Democrats are ready to sit down & improve our system.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258656.0
But, health care is not the only issue that needs bipartisanship. Taxes, infrastructure, and more are on the horizon. We must come together.— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer) 1501258681.0