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(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

PHILADELPHIA — Sen. James Risch told reporters on Thursday big changes are coming to Obamacare.

There's definitely going to be changes to Obamacare, very substantial changes and outright repeal possibly. But there's gotta be something in place.

When questioned whether this was different than the repeal-and-replace mantra the party has been pushing since winning the White House in November, Risch said no, he's always supported keeping pieces of the law.

"I've always said that this thing needs to be gone through and find the pieces that work and the ones that don't, the vast majority of it, the overall philosophy of it, the guts of it, don't work," he said. "But does that mean a section like keeping 23-year-old's ability to stay on their parents' insurance policy isn't a good idea? Eh, that's not a bad idea."

He said the GOP's self-imposed April deadline for repealing and replacing the health care law is "aspirational," but not "required." He also said no decisions have been made about what to do about the law's taxes or Medicaid expansion.

Our thought bubble: We don't really buy this. "Outright repeal possibly" is not the same as November's confident assurance that Obamacare was history. This change in language tracks with the growing realization that following through with repeal without a replacement ready would have consequences in insurance markets, and that crafting replacement policy is much, much easier said than done. Some outside analysts have for months speculated the result of the GOP's crusade would end up being changes to Obamacare itself, and this might be a step in that direction.

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.