A lead Republican in the fight to repeal Obamacare said Monday night that he wanted to work in a step by step manner to repeal Obamcare once a replacement was “available to the American people “
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is the chairman of the Senate’s HELP Committee and has been a leading voice in dictating how Republicans should carry out the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.
“We have to take each part of it and consider what it would take to create a new and better alternative and then begin to create that alternative and once it’s available to the American people, then we can finally repeal Obamacare,” Alexander said.
The statement comes after other rank-and-file Republicans including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) have voiced concern that Republicans are hurting themselves by not offering a replacement at the time they repeal Obamacare.
From the beginning, Alexander has tried to urge his colleagues to take Obamacare repeal and replace slowly. He even warned in November that it could take “years” to fully transition.
It’s unclear what leadership will decide to do, but if enough Republicans voice their disillusionment with repealing Obamacare without a clear replacement, it could imperil Republicans from being able to replace Obamacare soon. Republicans have aimed to have a repeal bill on Trump’s desk by the end of February, but Republican leaders will need to have broad consensus to meet that deadline.
“The sooner we can offer new, concrete, practical alternatives, the sooner we can repeal those parts of Obamacare that have damaged the American people,” Alexander said.