GOP senator: 'We only have so much power to repeal' ObamaCare

Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSenate Republicans reluctant to rush vote on healthcare bill GOP sen: 'We should not be voting' on healthcare this week GOP at decisive moment on Planned Parenthood MORE (R-Wis.) is warning that the GOP can only do so much to repeal ObamaCare, downplaying lawmakers' ability to completely dismantle the law.

“We only have so much power to repeal certain elements of ObamaCare through reconciliation — 51 votes — the taxes, the subsidies,” Johnson told CNN on Friday morning.

“So many of the market reforms — I would call them the market distortions — that have caused premiums to skyrocket and out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles to skyrocket, those are probably going to need 60 votes. And it doesn’t sound like the Democrats are really willing to bear the responsibility of the mess they created.”

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Johnson last month talked up the idea of repairing former President Obama’s signature healthcare law, as opposed to an outright repeal of the measure.

But he clarified those comments Friday, saying he didn’t think ObamaCare was “fixable” and that repairing the law simply meant fixing the damage that it has already done.

Vice President Pence on Thursday reaffirmed the Trump administration’s promise to promptly repeal and replace ObamaCare, despite talk among some Republican lawmakers that repairing the law may be a better route.

“We are absolutely committed to follow through on President Trump’s directive to repeal and replace ObamaCare and to have the Congress do it at the same time,” Pence told Fox News's Sean Hannity.

Some Republican lawmakers have privately voiced concerns about plans to repeal ObamaCare through the fast-track process of budget reconciliation, as well as how they will replace it without revoking insurance from the roughly 20 million people covered under the law.

Updated at 1:31 p.m.