In the wake of Senate Republicans' failure to roll back key features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is renewed interest in exploring a bipartisan approach. Following their votes that halted action on the Senate repeal legislation, Senators John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski called for a bipartisan fix for health insurance markets. A coalition of nearly 40 House Republicans and Democrats, dubbed the Problem Solvers Caucus, has advanced a proposal to stabilize individual insurance markets and encourage state experimentation.
Although it is unclear whether such efforts will bring opposing sides together, these are important developments. Major social legislation is more stable when there is support from members of both parties. A major flaw of the ACA is that it was passed with only Democratic votes, which reduced acceptance of the law among a large segment of the electorate. Political instability can lead to programmatic instability, as is now clear with a Republican administration in charge of implementing key features of a law it is trying to repeal.