Two top House Republicans on health policy reiterated promises Monday to replace the Affordable Care Act after repealing it.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who is vying to lead the Energy and Commerce Committee next year, said the House GOP’s “Better Way” health plan will be the starting point for reform efforts. He referenced high-risk pools as the best way to require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions without having a mandate to purchase plans. Tax credits would help people afford coverage, he said.

“We just want to bring more choices, more competition,” Shimkus said. “Competition drives higher quality, lower cost. Always does, always will.”

. . .

Throughout the campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump’s entire health message consisted of promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

That remains difficult with Democrats still commanding enough power in the Senate to block the 60 votes needed for a full repeal. Republicans could use fast-track budget authority to make some major changes to the law, although that could take some time. In the short term, however, Trump could use executive power to make some major changes on his own.

. . .

The GOP’s long-discussed dreams of repealing Obamacare became closer to reality early Wednesday morning when Donald Trump was elected president.

Six years after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law and after more than 60 attempts to repeal it, Republicans now have a good chance to advance their own agenda.

While on the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised voters that he would repeal Obamacare if he was elected president and even called on congressional Republicans to call a “special session” to move forward with rolling back the law.

. . .

President-elect Trump said that he was open to keeping parts of Obamacare. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Mr. Trump said he favors keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children on their insurance policies.” He’s not the first Republican to advocate keeping these popular provisions of the law. Keeping the under-26 provision is pretty close to a consensus among Hill Republicans. It’s not the ideal policy, in my view. But it’s compatible with a much freer and better-functioning health-care market than we have now, and it’s worth accepting as part of legislation that enables that market.
. . .

A total repeal of ObamaCare will prove difficult — but there’s plenty Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans can do to effectively dismantle President Obama’s signature domestic program.

Trump could exempt more people from the individual mandate to buy insurance, and his administration could stop assisting consumers with enrollment.

If the government stops fighting a lawsuit that’s trying to put an end to subsidies for low-income people’s bills, insurers’ costs would go up, and they could choose to drop out of the markets.

. . .

The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CBS News and other news outlets have led with headlines over the weekend touting the big news that Donald Trump is willing to keep parts of the Affordable Care Act––notably the pre-existing condition protections and the ability for children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents policies.

Except this isn’t news.

In May, Trump’s policy advisor told Healthline that a Trump administration would consider keeping the children to age 26 provision.

. . .

President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuand Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Wednesday and will have his first post-election meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday to discuss the transfer of power between their two administrations in January.

Mr. Trump’s transition team has been gathering for months, and they packed into an office on Wednesday a block away from the White House to continue drafting blueprints for the new administration. Among the proposals: a policy that would ban many members of the transition team from lobbying the same federal agencies they are helping shape.

. . .

Sources say President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team for HHS will be led by Andrew Bremberg, who worked at the agency under President George W. Bush administration and more recently has been an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s fleeting presidential bid.

Bremberg was on Walker’s team when the candidate unveiled a healthcare proposal that included repealing the Affordable Care Act and splitting Medicaid into smaller programs with separate funding.

. . .

Although it came late as a campaign issue, ObamaCare was on the ballot again on Tuesday.  And it lost big. President-elect Trump connected with voter anger about the law, saying that health costs are overwhelming families’ ability to pay their bills, and even their mortgages.  Those voters helped produce Tuesday’s stunning electoral result.  Both Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell are ready to begin work on repealing and replacing ObamaCare; we offer an agenda for action.

. . .

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the Senate would move swiftly to repeal Obamacare now that the GOP Congress will have a Republican president next year.

“It’s pretty high on our agenda as you know,” the Kentucky Republican said on Wednesday. “I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

. . .