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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins introduced an Obamacare replacement bill on Monday that allows states to keep Obamacare if they want to. Both have been vocal about the need to repeal and replace the law at the same time.

While Republicans have no shortage of replacement ideas, this one could actually have legs. The bill is much more moderate than other proposals, allowing some pieces of Obamacare to stay in place.

A senior GOP aide on the bill: "Important voices ... Not all terrible ideas. Could be interesting." But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is already shooting it down: "Ultimately, this proposal is an empty facade that would create chaos — not care — for millions of Americans," he said in a statement.

Here's some of what the bill would do:

  • It lets states decide whether to keep Obamacare or get rid of it, a contrast to calls for total repeal.
  • The "default option" would allow states to auto-enroll the uninsured into a high-deductible plan, financed by a health savings account that the state would fund. Individuals could opt out.
  • States would get a per-capita allotment of money from the federal government based on the number of people on exchanges and Medicaid.
  • The amount of money going to states would be the same as they receive now, plus they'd still get extra money if they decide to expand Medicaid.
  • Keeps Obamacare consumer protection provisions such as the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, the prohibition on annual and lifetime spending caps, and the option for children to stay on their parents' plan up to age 26.

Collins suggested that by introducing the bill, she's hoping to get the replacement conversation moving. "If we do not start putting specific legislation on the table that can be debated, refined, amended and enacted, then we will fail the American people," she said.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.