MINNEAPOLIS — After the White House and Republican leadership in Washington failed to pass the American Health Care Act (ACHA), the cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s campaign, Democrats are stepping up to offer the proverbial olive branch.
Minnesota Congressman and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison extended the offer on CNN’s New Day with Chris Cuomo on Monday, telling Cuomo, “If the Republicans have suddenly realized they have to work with us, I think that’s a good thing.”
“The democratic party will never prioritize party over people,” Ellison said.
Ellison admitted Minnesota “saw some spikes” in the private healthcare market, stating, “We worked together in a bipartisan way to supplement some of those spikes and then look at how we can re-engineer that market and make sure we can bring prices down.”
The bipartisan teamwork Ellison refers to is the health care supplement plan passed by Minnesota Republican lawmakers for a $300 million dollar plan to help offset the drastic premium increases faced by thousands of Minnesota families. Ellison commended MN Governor Mark Dayton for working with lawmakers to find a solution on growing health care costs.
“I don’t think we fold our arms and gloat,” Ellison said. “I think we step forward and say, ‘There are people who cannot afford their medicine right now. What can we do together about it?’
Minnesota has seen some of the largest increases in health care premiums and deductibles since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota saw an increase in premiums by 59 percent. Even Dayton has agreed that the ACA is no longer affordable.
The olive branch extends beyond the health care issue.
“We stand at the ready to make things better. Private market, anywhere else, and on any other issue,” Ellison said.
Spending a weekend in Michigan, Ellison also hinted at working with Republicans on improving infrastructure stating, “If it’s a real investment, Eisenhower-style, in our nation’s infrastructure, that is something we would love to talk about.”
Ellison’s shift in tone is a drastic departure from his from past statements. Ellison has previously been very critical of both Republicans and Trump’s administration.