Republican Sen. Tom Cotton: GOP needs an Obamacare alternative before repeal

Story highlights

  • Cotton: This is a very complicated problem
  • The GOP is repealing a bill that includes a two- or three-year transition period

(CNN)Sen. Tom Cotton said Republicans need to have an alternative to Obamacare before repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

"I think when we repeal Obamacare we need to have the solution in place moving forward," the Arkansas Republican told MSNBC's Chuck Todd Thursday. "I don't think we can just repeal Obamacare and say we're going to get the answer two years from now. This is a very complicated problem."
GOP leaders are considering "repeal and delay" -- a repeal bill that includes a two- or three-year transition period that they hope would offer a buffer.
If Cotton were not to support a resolution to repeal Obamacare, it could have a major impact on getting the legislation through the Senate because supporters need the backing of at least 50 of their 52 GOP members.
But two Republican senators -- Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- support abortion rights and likely won't commit to approving the bill if it includes the Planned Parenthood defunding provision.
Republicans have been criticized for wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act quickly without having a clear plan on replacing what they roll back.
Some GOP lawmakers worry that in an effort to please their base with a repeal, they could be blamed if Americans are left without health insurance and chaos ensues the healthcare market.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday that his party will attempt to strip all federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the process they are using early this year to dismantle Obamacare.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified Tom Cotton's position. He is a US Senator.