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Democrats Preempt GOP Obamacare Repeal Efforts, Suggest Congress 'Fix' the Law

4:30 PM, Dec 19, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The White House and congressional Democrats say Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare will take away the benefits Americans are experiencing because of the health care law. In a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, White House advisor David Simas praised Obamacare's provisions allowing America to remain on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26 and outlawing the denial of coverage because of preexisting conditions.

If Obamacare were repealed, Simas said, "all of these benefits across the board will be taken away."

The conference call coincides with a new political effort by the White House to document the "cost of repeal."

Simas added that Republicans should "stop refighting these old political battles" and join with Democrats to "[fix] it when the need arises."

Fix it how, exactly? Simas and the members of Congress on the call weren't clear on what about the law needs "fixing" nor how Congress might fix the law legislatively. Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow said it was important for members to "keep the conversation going on how to improve this." Democratic congressmen Joaquin Castro of Texas and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania reiterated those sentiments but offered no specifics about what might need improving or what legislation Democrats have offered to do so.

House Republicans say there are no scheduled votes to repeal the law. "House Republicans are focused on protecting as many Americans as possible from the President’s healthcare law," says a senior House GOP aide in an email. "It’s driving up the cost of care, more folks will have lost their coverage or access to their doctors than have signed up in the exchanges by the end of this year – which is exactly why our ultimate goal is repeal.”

Some Republicans have offered their own alternative bills to Obamacare. One of those congressmen, Tom Price of Georgia, recently released a proposal that keeps in place some of the benefits of Obamacare praised by Democrats, like the elimination of pre-existing conditions, while attempting to reform the health care system with what he calls more "patient-centered" ideas.

Asked by one reporter if the unpopularity of the law will affect the Democrats' midterm election prospects, Castro sounded positive about Obamacare's political worth. "The reality will overtake the propaganda...machine that the right wing has set up," he said.

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