Democrats have been clear that they want to help fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act, but so far, the party's input has been refused, Sen. Chris Murphy said Wednesday.
"[Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell poked his head out and tossed a bill out there that was widely unpopular in his caucus, and then he pulled the door shut, so they're back in secret negotiations this week and next week," the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"We've been very clear we would love nothing more than to sit down with Republicans and keep what's working with the Affordable Care Act and fix the parts that aren't."
Tuesday, McConnell said he'd decided to delay a vote on the Senate's healthcare legislation. He needs support from at least 50 of the 52 Republicans in the Senate to move forward with the bill, but at least five Republicans have said they would vote to block debate on the bill's current version.
Meanwhile, Murphy said there are several aspects of the new healthcare bill Democrats could help fix, if given the opportunity.
"They're raising rates because of the instability that President [Donald] Trump has injected into the market," said Murphy. "I think Democrats and Republicans could work to fix that. They've got to take the big tax cuts for the rich off the table, take gutting Medicaid off the table and say that our goal should be to insure more people not less people."
But it's ultimately McConnell's decision whether to work together, said Murphy. However, on Tuesday, the Senate majority leader said he suspects Democrats would reject reforms for both the market and Medicaid sides of the bill.
Democrats want stability for the healthcare exchanges, Murphy said, while Republicans want more flexibility on them.
"I think there's a conversation to be had between stability and flexibility but that can't happen if the goal is to move millions from the ranks that are insured," said Murphy. "We have to make sure our goal is the same."
He said he does believe there are some senators, like Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins, who would be willing to speak with Democrats about the bill, and he'd be happy with speak with them.
However, said Murphy, it's up to McConnell, and "he feels they have to play to the base."
"Their agenda has been to pass on massive tax cuts for the wealthy," said Murphy. "That's what's at the form of this bill. That's their priority. If that's the case, then there is not a lot of opportunity for agreement with Democrats."
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