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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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A handful of Republicans governors met Thursday with GOP senators who will be overseeing the repeal of Obamacare to express their concerns and hopes about the process. The meeting came after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had asked governors across the country to weigh in on the effort to dismantle of the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, which some but not all red states had opted into.

Not surprisingly, many GOP governors said they supported repealing Obamacare, but some still warned against doing so swiftly without a replacement ready. Others highlighted the gains their states made under their Medicaid expansion.

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A Republican senator who sits on the committee that will consider the nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) as the director of the Office of Management and Budget said Thursday that the revelation that Mulvaney had failed to pay income tax on a household employee may "create problems" for his confirmation.

"It could create problems," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told CNN. "I don't know for sure, but I've had problems with former Cabinet people under both Republicans and Democrats where that's either been straightened out -- or if there wasn't justification for it oppose it."

According to CNN, he did not say whether he believed Mulvaney should withdraw.

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A Senate Republican tempered expectations of what Republicans could do alone to repeal and replace Obamacare, and acknowledged that GOP lawmakers will need Democrats' help to avoid hurting constituents in their overhaul of the health care system.

"From my standpoint, I've been talking about repairing the damage and then transitioning into a system that actually works. That takes some time. It's way more complex than simply 'repeal and replace'," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told CNBC's Squawkbox Thursday. "It's a fun little buzzword, but it's just not that accurate."

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For years Republican critiques of the Affordable Care Act have zeroed in on the effect it has had on the individual heath insurance market. But the GOP lawmaker who will likely lead the Department of Health and Human Services has long championed a major overhaul to the much bigger employer-based insurance system in order to push consumers to buy their own plans.

The legislation HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has offered over the years include mainstays of GOP plans that would usher in a drastic change in how most people receive their health care coverage. The employer-based insurance market covers seven times more people than the individual market.

"What he's getting at here, and a lot of Republicans feel pretty strongly about this, to get a functioning insurance market, you have to get away from businesses buying the insurance," explained Joe Antos, a health policy scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "The philosophy is, ultimately, you want to transition, in some orderly way, to where everybody is buying their own insurance."

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Congressional Republicans aren’t sure what President-elect Donald Trump’s “plan” for replacing Obamacare is, but many were perfectly confident that it would fit in neatly with their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has already been bogged down intra-party disagreements.

Key senators in the repeal effort admitted this week -- after Trump told the Washington Post that he would be unveiling a plan that would bring “insurance for everybody” --- that they had not seen details of the alleged plan. It was also unclear if they knew such a plan existed before Trump’s comments about it. Still, even though they weren’t sure exactly what Trump meant when he said “insurance for everybody," they assumed his interpretation of the ideal Obamacare replacement matched their own: that the goal would be making the cost of insurance cheaper for consumers to expand “access,” rather than universal coverage.

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Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, would not say whether he would support financial cuts to Medicare or Medicaid, when pressed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) a hearing in front of a Senate committee Wednesday.

"What the question presumes is that money is the metric," Price said, after Warren had pointed to legislation he's introduced in the past proposing major cuts to the programs.

"In my belief, from a scientific standpoint, if patients are not receiving care, even though we're providing the resources, then it does not work for patients," Price said.

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) attempted to pin down Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, on how Republicans would measure success in their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Price first pointed to "cost," "access" and the "choices" for individuals, before saying "absolutely" that policymakers should try to increase the number of people on insurance.

"So from where we are today, if you look at the things that many of us believe have been harmed by the Affordable Care Act, I hope that we're able to turn that around and decrease the out-of-pocket cost for individuals, increase choices for individuals, increase access to the doctors and providers that the patients want, as opposed to what's happened over the past few years," Price said at his hearing Wednesday in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

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Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) struggled to say at a Senate committee hearing Wednesday whether he supported the position of President-elect Donald Trump, who has selected Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Service, that Medicare should be able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Trump's support of allowing negotiations cuts against GOP orthodoxy on the issue.

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Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that Trump had not changed his mind on the vows he made during the campaign not to cut Medicare or Social Security.

"I haven't had extensive discussions with him about the comments that he made, but I have no reason to believe that he's changed his position," Price told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went through various statements Trump made during the campaign promising to protect the programs.

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President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), said Wednesday of the Trump administration's plans for repealing Obamacare that it was "absolutely imperative" that people "be able to keep health coverage."

"One of the important things that we need to convey to the American people is that nobody is interested in pulling the rug out from under anybody," Price said at a hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. "We believe that it's absolutely imperative that individuals that have health coverage be able to keep health coverage and move hopefully to greater choices and opportunities for them to gain the kind of coverage they want for themselves and for their families."

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