VOA News/Michael Bowman

CAPITOL HILL — After a weeklong recess, Senate Republicans returned to Washington on Monday still searching for a legislative formula to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law, known as Obamacare.

Conservative Republicans want to dramatically pare back the federal government’s role in health care, but moderates worry that their poor and vulnerable constituents would lose coverage. However, as discussions play out among Republican senators, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, the status quo is not working.

“Obamacare has been hurtling toward collapse for years. Today it sits on the edge of total meltdown,” McConnell said. “Unless we do something about that, even more Americans are going to get hurt. And we have a responsibility to help before Obamacare comes literally crashing down around them.”

McConnell has said that if his caucus can’t agree on a bill, Republicans will have no choice but to shore up Obamacare, which has seen premiums rise and insurers flee health care exchanges in many states.

Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seized on McConnell’s comment, insisting Obamacare’s flaws can be fixed without ditching the entire law.

“Republican leadership is not telling their members [to] vote for this bill because it’s a good bill. Nope,” Schumer said. “They are saying, ‘Vote for this bill or you’ll have to work with Democrats.’ When you can’t defend the substance of the bill at all, it’s time to move on.”

McConnell postponed a vote on an initial Republican health care plan after the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cause millions to lose health care coverage. Republican leaders hope to present a revised plan by the end of the week.