Can The Affordable Care Act Be Repaired?

CHICAGO (CBS) — With Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare stalled on Capitol Hill, local health and elected officials say there are credible, bi-partisan ideas that could repair the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO of Cook County’s Health and Hospital’s System, says Republicans and Democrats would agree that the Affordable Care Act — and the Republican replacement bills — do nothing about how much money we spend for medicine and treatment.

“We’re spending it on incredibly expensive medications, for which the federal government has stepped away from its ability, like other countries have shown  the ability to bargain to get lower drug prices,” Dr. Shannon said.

That could change, and Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky believes lawmakers could address areas where health insurers have pulled out. She said she believes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle could agree on some kind of public option to help areas where health insurers have pulled out of the marketplace.

“We could create a public option that would be available to compete with the private insurance companies or replace where they won’t go in,” Schakowsky said.

And she and Democratic colleague Danny Davis want to negotiations on drug prices. Davis would like to see a single payer plan, but knows that won’t fly with Republicans.

Schakowsky agrees but she says there are many things Democrats and Republicans can agree on that could repair the Affordable Care Act and ensure that more Americans have real access to health care.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill would like to see such discussions too.

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