Key Chairman Is ‘Sensitive’ To GOPers Who Want Immediate O’Care Replace

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HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander says that he understands concerns from some fellow GOP senators who don’t want to repeal Obamacare without a clear replacement.

Before heading into a Senate lunch Thursday, Alexander told TPM that he was still working out the timing on Obamacare repeal and replace, but that he thought Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) should be listened to.

“I think we need to be sensitive to those concerns and President-elect Trump has talked about doing as much of that simultaneously as we can,” Alexander told TPM. “And since we’re envisioning a step-by-step process, it is very likely that as we repeal parts of Obamacare, there will be replacements. I think it’s unlikely anything will be effectively repealed until there is a replacement available, but the closer they are together the better.”

Alexander said he thought the conference should “listen carefully to Rand Paul.”

When asked if he was pushing for that strategy, Alexander said, “I’m working on the sequencing.”

On Thursday morning, Paul met with members of the House Freedom Caucus to try and discuss some of their fear that Republicans would repeal Obamacare without a clear replacement. Members of the House have also been trying to raise their concerns to leadership.

So far in the Senate, Paul, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have all expressed concern about repealing the Affordable Care Act without a clear replacement ready. Without them, the reconciliation package to repeal Obamacare could be in grave danger of not passing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.

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