President Obama gave a "nostalgic" speech about Obamacare to Democrats on Wednesday, but was light on specific strategies to save it, according to a Democrat in the meeting.
Obama met with House and Senate Democrats Wednesday to reminisce about the law, which Republicans have already started efforts to dismantle.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., told reporters Obama gave a "very nostalgic" speech but said he would leave it up to them to map out a strategy to prevent Republicans from destroying the law. Slaughter also noted Democrats will be united in not working on any replacement.
"We don't even think of replacing the law," she said.
Obama also will continue to advocate for keeping the law after he leaves office, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Obama also emphasized that repealing the law without a replacement could create a "climate of uncertainty" in the individual and other insurance markets, Cummings added.
Another important message was to blame Republicans if repeal of the law leads to adverse impacts for people who are now using the law to get insurance coverage.
"Make sure they own it," said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va.
Obama also detailed how Democrats should talk about how to defend Obamacare, and suggested they avoid talking too much about policy, and instead focus on the law's impact.
The president was "basically saying let's not get down into policy language," said Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass., after the meeting.
Republicans took their first step toward repealing the healthcare law by introducing a budget resolution Tuesday. The resolution, which still needs a vote, would set the spending and budgetary levels for the next decade, and instructs House and Senate committees to draft repeal legislation by Jan. 27.
Republicans plan to use the procedural move known as reconciliation, which lets them pass a bill by a simple majority vote in the Senate rather than the 60 needed to break a filibuster. Republicans blasted Obama's meeting with Democrats as a blatantly partisan maneuver.
"Even in his final days in office he still insists on a partisan approach when reaching out to Congress," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, in a statement.