Florida's senior U.S. Senator has confirmed that he and a colleague from Maine have begun work on a new approach to dealing with the healthcare issue.
The surprise announcement from Bill Nelson's office came late Friday.
The Florida Democrat said that he and Republican colleague Susan Collins are working together on a new bipartisan approach to health care.
In a statement issued by Nelson's office, he said he and Collins are working with a small bipartisan group of senators who are "equally dedicated to finding real solutions."
The group, Nelson says, met earlier in the week to begin laying out their ideas and discussing a path forward.
Nelson's statement noted that, while "the imminent disaster of 20 percent rate hikes and 16 million people losing coverage has been avoided by the defeat of the Republican's health care bill, now is the time to come together and start working in a bipartisan way to stabilize the market and make health care more affordable."
Nelson said that he and Senator Collins, both of them former insurance commissioners for their respective states, had discussed the issue multiple times, and "we are now working together."
Nelson said he and Collins were both keenly aware of the complexities of the issue, and are working with a small bipartisan group of senators equally dedicated to finding real solutions.
"This group of senators met for dinner the other night to start sharing our ideas and discussing a path forward," Nelson's statement said.
The goal, based on earlier statements from Nelson, appears not so much to be repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, but the dedicated bipartisan effort to repair the flaws in the health care law.
Nelson concluded with the observation that, while they still have a long way to go, the group is starting to work together to try to get this done in a bipartisan way.