The consensus view nationwide is that the health care bills put forward by congressional Republicans -- the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) -- are terrible enough to not get enough votes even among Republicans themselves. With four of them refusing to vote for the replacement bill last Monday, and three rejecting the repeal-only bill on Tuesday, that should be enough evidence to make it true. Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that they would move forward to get votes on a repeal bill they tried to pass in 2015.

Fixing Obamacare, no repeal or replace

If the pattern of defeats says anything about how that vote is going to go, it shows that there might not be enough support for that effort either. As Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said on Meet the Press last Sunday, democrats have not lifted a finger to help their constituents who were struggling under Obamacare. This would suggest that repealing and replacing was the only solution and that Sen. Cornyn assumed that Democrats would vote for it. But Democrats have said repeatedly that they would only support fixing the problems with Obamacare a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and not a repeal or replacement effort by Republicans. With regards to the three female senators who rejected the latest effort on Tuesday, there is a growing sense that fixing the ACA is the next logical step.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Democratic Party leaders are more than happy to take the blame for the failures Republicans have had with passing their bills. Sen. Sanders was on the PBS Newshour on Tuesday night where he was asked about President Trump blaming Democrats for being obstructionists and Republicans who didn't vote for the bill.

Sanders said he was happy to accept the criticism and called the GOP bills disasters. There was a sense from the interview that the next step would be for a bipartisan effort from both sides to fix the ACA. It's likely a correct view as it's been reported that Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn said at the beginning of the week that he would start working on holding hearings.

A look at bipartisan health care legislation

But with Republicans wanting to continue to hold a vote on repealing the current health care law next week, there is no indication that anyone is going to come to any table whether that table belongs to Democrats or Republicans. In fact, Sanders had already taken issue with the suggestion that it was Democrats who had to go to Republicans, who were leading the way and choosing to do anything but fix the current law. Sanders suggested that they would have to work together to enforce the ACA to get more insurance providers into the market place. But this already makes it clear that Republicans will already reject any effort to support those fixes. Senator Sanders also suggested enforcing the individual mandate, which is another non-starter for the GOP. Here is the interview, where he provides some foresight into what Democratic involvement could look like.