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From repeal to reform? Some Democrats are willing to work with GOP on Obamacare by Kellan Howell

WATCH |It seems like we've been listening to the same old GOP tune for years now. "Repeal and replace Obamacare." Now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, a repeal seems imminent. But some Democrats are saying they want to work with the GOP to fix the healthcare law. 

Some Democrats' are ready to negotiate 

A group of 13 Democratic Caucus members on Thursday penned a letter to GOP leadership signaling their willingness to work with Republicans to reform Obamacare. 

Led by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the self-proclaimed "moderate Senate Democrats" said they acknowledged that changes need to be made to improve the massive healthcare law and they want to work together on improvements, in lieu of an imminent repeal. 

We will consider reforms or improvements, as long as they don't reduce coverage - the number of people covered -- as long as they don't raise costs to families and as long as they don't diminish the quality of care.

Sen. Tim Kaine

Democrats will have to work with the GOP if they want any say in changes that are likely to come for U.S. healthcare laws since Republicans outnumber them in both the House and the Senate.

The American people deserve a constructive bipartisan conversation about improvements we know need to be made to our health care system, and that will require time for the two sides to work together.

moderate Senate Democrats

Republicans hoping for compromise 

Some Republicans have also said they hope to work together with Democrats to mend the holes in the law. 

"We need to come to some resolution to that. Hopefully for the most part, it happens in a bipartisan manner," Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot told Circa. 

Remarkably, after years of bipartisan bickering it seems that Congress may end up working together to achieve broad reform. 

But there's a catch

It's unclear how far lawmakers are willing to go. In their letter, the "moderate Senate Democrats" said they were in favor of "improvements" to the law, but didn't specify what changes they would like to see. 

They also made clear that if Republicans moved too quickly to repeal the law without a transition plan in place, they would give them hell. 

By moving forward with no plan in place for the future of our health care system, those who support repeal assume the responsibility of mitigating the unnecessary and avoidable chaos this will create.

moderate Senate Democrats

Republicans will move forward either way

Senate Republicans already won their first foray into repealing the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday with a 51-48 vote to open debate on a 2017 budget bill.

The bill includes language that will pave the way for a broad repeal with a simple majority vote, stifling Democrat's chance for a filibuster.

The Urban Institute estimates that 30 million people would lose health insurance if Obamacare is repealed.