Senate Dems indicate willingness to 'break apart,' fix health reform

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said House Republicans remain determined to repeal the healthcare reform law, but one Democratic lawmaker urged her colleagues to instead focus only on reforming flawed provisions.

Republicans this week will move ahead with plans to repeal the healthcare overhaul, Flake said during an appearance on “Face the Nation” on CBS. And while he expects the Jan. 8 mass shooting in his home state will cause lawmakers to “tone down the rhetoric” during the debate, Flake predicted the substance of the Republicans’ arguments will not change.

The repeal will find favor in the Republican-controlled House but isn't expected to pass the Senate.

Still, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "I think we ought to try to repeal it."


"We've lessened the impact between doctors and patients with this bill," he said. "My hope is the debate will be good for it."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on CBS that lawmakers should aim to focus not on throwing out the reform law, but rather on repairing individual provisions.

She acknowledged the law “is not perfect,” and suggested Republicans and Democrats likely could agree on changing certain provisions. “Let’s break it apart,” she said during the show.

On NBC Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said "the bill did a good job but it can go further," and he predicted there may be some issue that can be worked on in a biparisan manner, such as repealing the 1099 provision.

"We welcome in a certain sense their attempt to repeal it because it gives us a second chance to make a first impression," Schumer said.

"We have the best healthcare system in the world and the most inefficient," he said.

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, during an appearance on “Face the Nation,” said the coming effort by House Republicans to repeal the healthcare reform law will be “the first test” of Washington’s less-hostile partisan talk.


Rendell questioned whether “the Republicans can have a debate” that allows both parties to debate the merits and flaws of the law.

Echoing Gillibrand and other Demoratic lawmakers, Rendell urged Republicans to focus not on outright repeal but on “modifying” the law with “three or four changes.”

The two political parties must dispatch with the tactic of yelling ay one another, and begin “listening” to the other side, he said. And merely “sitting together at the State of the Union is not enough.”

This story was updated at 12:45 p.m.