McConnell asks govs for O-Care alternatives

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is asking GOP governors for ideas on how to replace ObamaCare and its "worst rules, regulations and mandates."

In a letter Thursday, McConnell and two colleagues asked Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) to solicit healthcare policy ideas from his peers. Haslam is the Policy Chairman of the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee.

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"ObamaCare must be replaced with reforms that Americans support," McConnell wrote, along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). McConnell is facing a primary challenger in his reelection campaign.

"We want to work with you to develop our best ideas together, and show Americans who are frustrated and fearful of ObamaCare that there is a better way."

The letter is a sign of Republicans' new emphasis on proposing a comprehensive alternative to the Affordable Care Act. The GOP has vowed to "repeal and replace" the law since 2010, but proposals were scarce until this week, when three other Republican senators floated their own plan.

The proposal from Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) would eliminate ObamaCare's federal mandates and offer tax breaks to help low-income people obtain health coverage. Critics argue the plan would substantially raise patient costs.

The House is also moving toward an alternative, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announcing Thursday that a vote will take place this year.