Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lamar Alexander, both expected to lead the Senate in repealing Obamacare, said this week they are willing to repair the healthcare reform law before repealing it.
"I think of it as a collapsing bridge," Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, said Wednesday during hearing, reports The Washington Post.
"You send in a rescue team and you go to work to repair it so that nobody else is hurt by it and you start to build a new bridge, and only when that new bridge is complete, people can drive safely across it, do you close the old bridge," he continued. "When it's complete, we can close the old bridge, but in the meantime, we repair it. No one is talking about repealing anything until there is a concrete practical alternative to offer Americans in its place."
Hatch, R-Utah, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, commented on Thursday that he's open to "anything that will improve the system" and that he could "stand either" repeal or repair measures.
However, Hatch has been pushing hard for repeal, even as recently as Wednesday, when he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that lawmakers need to repeal Obamacare immediately while pushing for a stable transition period.
Last month, Congressional Republicans, who have been seeking to repeal Obamacare for nearly eight years, started the move to repeal and replace the controversial healthcare law.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, appearing on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program, commented that there has been some "miscommunication" happening, and to repair the healthcare system, "you must repeal and replace Obamacare."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday that he doesn't really think Obamacare can be replaced, so he believes it will instead be repealed and replaced.
In the House, there are also those who are in favor of repairing the system, while others, like South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, doesn't think it can be done.
"We need to repeal it," said Meadows, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus. "We need to replace it. If you want to call that a repair, so be it, but I don’t know that that makes it any more palatable to the folks back home."
Ryan, though, told reporters Thursday that the House Republicans' job is to "repair the American healthcare system and rescue it from the collapse that it’s in. And the best way to repair a health-care system is to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s not an either/or."
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