When Congress returns to Washington after Labor Day, it will immediately confront a tough question: Can there be bipartisan agreement on fixing the country's health care system?
The Senate health committee announced on Tuesday that it will hold two back-to-back hearings on health care September 6 and 7. That will be the first time that Republican and Democratic senators officially gather together to examine potential ways to stabilize the Obamacare marketplace. Witnesses are expected to include governors and state insurance commissioners.
"While there are a number of issues with the American health care system, if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is in the individual health insurance market," Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the health committee, said in a statement.
Since the failed Senate vote, there have been growing calls on both sides of the political aisle to start fresh discussions to fix Obamacare on a bipartisan basis -- a clear sign that even Democrats admit that the law is far from perfect.
Alexander said an urgent priority is to find ways to bring down sky-rocketing premiums and also offer some reassurances to insurance companies that need to soon decide whether to participate in the exchanges next year.
President Donald Trump, who has publicly called on McConnell since the Senate vote to keep trying to repeal Obamacare, offered some relief to insurance companies last week. The Trump administration will pay insurers a key Obamacare subsidy this month despite Trump's earlier threats to end the cost-sharing reduction payments.