Republicans will need at least eight Democratic votes in the Senate to pass a replacement to the Affordable Care Act, and some Democrats tell Politico that they're willing to be flexible when the time comes. Republicans will fill 52 seats when President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House, and while Democrats won't initially vote to repeal ObamaCare, 10 members will be up for re-election in 2018 in states that Donald Trump won and could be under intense pressure to be friendly toward the Republican alternative.
"If they want to change things around the edges, fix some of the things we agree ought to be fixed and call it TrumpCare, that's okay," said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who will face re-election in 2018. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri agreed, saying, "If it makes sense, I think there'll be a lot of Democrats who would be for it."
But many Democrats are skeptical that Republicans will have a good alternative, with McCaskill adding, "For six years, I've looked [for Republican replacement plans] in closets, I've looked in committee rooms, I've looked under desks. …They've had six frickin' years to figure it out."
And while there will be pressure on certain Democrats, they also expect that the public will quickly sour against the Republicans as soon as ObamaCare is repealed. "I don't see a way to the sweet spot that gets them eight Democrats they need and keeps all 52 Republicans," one senior Democratic official told Politico. "The political calculation changes once we're in post-repeal world."