In it, but not of it. TPM DC

A major trade group for insurers took the unusual step of going public with what it is demanding of Republicans considering a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

In a list of proposals released Tuesday, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said that in light of "significant changes" the Affordable Care Act will see, the group was highlighting the "key principles that, if followed, will help ensure a stable, competitive market that delivers real choice, high quality, and affordable care." Their requests anticipate a GOP Obamacare repeal maneuver that health care policy experts warn will destabilize the individual insurance market, even if lawmakers include a delay of the repeal provisions in the bill they push early next year.

"We still have more questions than answers,” AHIP president and CEO Marilyn Tavenner told the New York Times. “We don’t want to disrupt individuals who are relying on our coverage.”

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If Republicans go through with their plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act using a similar model as their failed 2015 Obamacare repeal, the number of uninsured would double, a new report by the Urban Institute report warns. Taking into account the two or so year delay GOP lawmakers say they will include in the repeal bill, the non-partisan think tank estimates that in 2019 the number of uninsured nonelderly people would rise from about 29 million to nearly 59 million. The report also notes that since the 2015 version of the legislation repealed the individual mandate right away while delaying other repeal aspects, some impacts of the version the GOP might pass could be felt right away.

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Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Washington Post that he will not help Republicans replace the Affordable Care Act if they follow through with a strategy to repeal the law immediately and then replace it down the road.

“We’re not going to do a replacement,” Schumer told the Washington Post. “If they repeal without a replacement, they will own it. Democrats will not then step up to the plate and come up with a half-baked solution that we will partially own. It’s all theirs."

Schumer's comments come as Republicans remain divided on the best strategy to replace the health care law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would repeal the law as their first order of business in 2017, but it is unclear how Republicans plan to come up with and implement a replacement. It is very likely that Republicans will need 60 votes to implement a replacement, and thus Democratic help, according to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says that Medicare "needs to be reformed," but the junior senator from Florida – a state with a large elderly population– wouldn't say outright he embraced Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare.

"I think it needs to be reformed," Rubio told TPM Tuesday. "I'd like to see specific proposals."

When asked if he or other Republican senators would be open to moving forward with a plan like Paul Ryan's—which is pretty specific and would give the elderly a set amount of money to purchase health care on a private exchange—Rubio demurred.

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Republican Senate leaders said Tuesday that they plan to charge through with their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as the new Congress convenes in January.

"Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the new year," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at his weekly press conference after the GOP caucus lunch.

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A key Republican senator in the GOP's effort to repeal Obamacare signaled that he was on board for the party's repeal-and-delay plan, but stressed that "the sooner we can come up with a replacement the better."

"Our goal is to repeal Obamacare, have a transition period, and then replace it," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Heath, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "And to do that in an orderly, sensible way that helps people and doesn't hurt them."

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