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Coalition to Fight Repeal of Obamacare 12/09 06:22

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supporters of the 2010 health care law will launch a 
political coalition Friday to block its repeal. They're targeting Republican 
lawmakers whose constituents may now be at risk of losing health insurance.

   The initial goal is to stop Congress from repealing the law without 
simultaneously passing a replacement for some 20 million people covered through 
subsidized private health insurance and expanded Medicaid.

   Called "Protect Our Care," the group brings together organizations that 
helped pass the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

   On the list are the NAACP, liberal advocacy groups like Families USA and the 
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Service Employees International 
Union, which represents many health care workers, and the Center for American 
Progress, a think tank closely aligned with the Obama White House.

   Coordinating the group's activities will be Leslie Dach, a former Wal-Mart 
lobbyist who served as a top adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary 
Sylvia Burwell in the Obama administration.

   "Repeal and Delay is no better than repeal. American families deserve to 
know what will happen to them before Congress acts," the coalition said in a 
statement.

   Republicans, who are considering first voting on repeal and then passing a 
replacement later, say their goal is a smooth transition to a system that will 
provide access for all Americans with fewer government requirements. The 
effective date of the repeal legislation would be delayed by months or years to 
give lawmakers time to figure out a replacement. But after six years trying to 
undo President Barack Obama's signature law, Republicans have not reached 
consensus on what their replacement would look like.

   "It is highly irresponsible to move forward with repeal alone," said Ron 
Pollack, head of Families USA, and an organizer of the coalition.

   A recent poll found that only about 1 in 4 people want President-elect 
Donald Trump to entirely repeal the health law. The post-election survey by the 
nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation underscored the nation's deep political 
divisions over health care. Thirty percent want to expand what the law does, 26 
percent want it completely repealed, 19 percent say it should be implemented as 
is, and 17 percent say it should be scaled back.

   The poll found some skepticism about repealing the law first and replacing 
it later. Forty-two percent of those who want the law repealed said lawmakers 
should wait until they figure out the details of a replacement plan before 
doing so.

   A study earlier this week estimated up to 30 million people would be at risk 
of losing coverage, because a repeal-only approach could destabilize the entire 
health insurance market for people who don't have job-based coverage, not just 
those who buy their policies through HealthCare.gov.

   Republicans say there's no turning back for them.

   "Obamacare isn't fixable," House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of 
Texas said in a recent interview. But he added that Republicans want a 
replacement that provides affordable health care, and will allow an appropriate 
transition period.


(KA)

 
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