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Manchin organizing bipartisan healthcare meeting Tuesday night

Manchin organizing bipartisan healthcare meeting Tuesday night
© Keren Carrion

Centrist Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Blankenship endorses ex-W.Va. GOP Senate rival, calls him 'lying' drug lobbyist MORE (D-W.Va.) is organizing a bipartisan group of senators who are former governors to discuss possible bipartisan action on healthcare, with a meeting planned for Tuesday night.

The meeting comes as talk of bipartisan action to stabilize ObamaCare markets is picking up in the wake of the collapse of the Republican healthcare bill.

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In an interview with Bloomberg TV earlier on Tuesday, Manchin said the questions he has on health reform are: “How do you fix the private markets? How do you save the private markets?” 

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a former governor, said he was attending.

“We're going to meet as a group of governors, former governors, this evening and we're going to be talking about what we can do,” Rounds said. “We look at it pretty pragmatically. The goal is to have a healthcare system in this country that actually works and is sustainable. And so we'll go back to the drawing board if we can and see if we can't find something that might work.”

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.), another former governor, announced Tuesday that the health committee, which he chairs, will be holding hearings on ways to stabilize the markets.

Options include guaranteeing funding for key ObamaCare payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reductions, which President Trump has threatened to cancel in order to cause chaos in the markets.

Republican leaders also left the door open to a bipartisan bill.

“We will have demonstrated that Republicans by themselves are not prepared at this particular point to do a replacement and that doesn’t mean the problems all go away, and you’ll have to look at our committee chairmen and their ranking members,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats slide in battle for Senate McConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Pelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said he did not want simply a “bailout” of insurance companies, but left the door open to a compromise.

“I'm against just bailouts with no reforms,” Cornyn said.

Asked what reforms he would like to see included, Cornyn pointed to the replacement bill that Republicans just proposed.

“There's a lot of things in the Better Care Act that I would like to see and so we ought to try to find somewhere to meet in the middle,” Cornyn said.