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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Replacing Obamacare law becomes a tricky mission for GOP

President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question as

President-elect Donald Trump listens to a question as he speaks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. Credit: AP

Just how the nation’s health laws will shift under the new administration remains uncertain.

What’s assured is that a Republican president and a GOP-controlled Congress will approve changes. This should avert the kind of partisan standoff we’ve seen in recent years on many domestic issues.

At least you’d think so.

The Trump-Pence campaign promised to create “sound public policy” through “free market principles” that will “broaden health care access, make health care more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.”

After winning the election, President-elect Donald Trump said he favored keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

He also said he likes a provision that lets parents provide years of added coverage for children on their plans.

Overall, he was critical, of course — pointing out that the insurance companies had drafted the current law.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said three weeks ago he expects the transition from Obamacare to take a while. “It’s not going to be replaced come next football season,” he told the Milwaukee Journal.

Then there’s Medicare.

“Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts,” Trump said in June 2015. “Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud, get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it. People have been paying in for years, and now many of these candidates want to cut it.”

But Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, has backed Ryan’s plan to raise the Medicare eligibility age and partially privatize it.

The new Democratic “outs” have been publicly warning Trump against backing off his repeated pledges on the issue. “Hands off Medicare” rallies are cropping up.

The ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act and its many moving parts are so tangled that taking it apart may be just as daunting. The lobbying by multiple interests begins anew.

Not all physicians, nurses and other health care professionals are on the same page about Price. While the American Medical Association has endorsed his selection, opinions vary.

As for the public at large, several news reports in recent days suggest that some Trump voters may be worried about the law’s repeal.

This chapter in the chronicles of American health insurance is just beginning.

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