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Opinion: A 'skinny repeal' may be the Senate GOP's best option

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks into the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Repeal and replace. It has been the mantra of Republicans ever since Obamacare was passed in 2010.

However, as seen Tuesday night, the Senate GOP was unable to secure enough votes on a full repeal and replace of Obamacare.

Moreover, Senate Republicans have not yet been able to gather enough votes for a “repeal only” plan.

What options are on the table? Let’s break it down.

There is a middle road being discussed that you may not have heard of - the “skinny repeal.”

True to it’s name, the skinny repeal has a very narrow scope.

It would eliminate three aspects of Obamacare: the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance, the rules requiring large companies to offer its workers coverage, and the medical device tax.

These three items seem to be the only areas of consensus among Senate Republicans.

The skinny repeal would not touch any of the more controversial issues like Medicaid funding or subsidies for private insurance. The rest of Obamacare would stay in place.

So why bother to try and push through such limited changes to Obamacare?

It would allow a way for the Senate and the House to come to conference. There, they could work together and hash out a broader replacement plan.

Having said that, whatever version is worked out in conference then has to go back and be passed by both houses of Congress.

The bottom line is this - after seven years, Republicans need to pass something, anything that allows the process to continue. Healthcare is a mess. It requires more reform than what a “skinny repeal” would offer but I believe that if the Senate and the House are able to get to conference, they will be able to provide what the American people have been asking for - a true repeal and replacement of Obamacare. That is why a skinny repeal is better than no repeal at all.

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