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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 25th, 2013
05:52 PM ET

Roundtable: Who loses politically if the government shuts down?

(CNN) - Many Republicans are staunchly against the health care law backed by President Barack Obama. But there is no alternative offered, no Republican bill to address rising health care costs, millions of uninsured, and discrimination against people with preexisting conditions.

Republicans used to be about repeal and replace. Now it just seems to be repeal.

Several Republicans have put forward proposals for health care laws. But the party, which controls the House and is a sizable minority in the Senate, are not uniting behind anything.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee agrees, adding that conservative efforts led by the House and pushed in the Senate by Ted Cruz is still a worthy endeavor.

"We need to offer something else. Several of us have. The fact that we don't yet have consensus on it, does not mean that there isn't good reason to protect Americans who are fearful – justifiably and understandably – for what's going to happen to them under Obamacare," Lee said in an interview on "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Sen. John McCain said the American people heard a lot about Obamacare in the 2012 election and they ultimately reelected President Barack Obama, a point Obama has made regularly in countering the current push to defund the Affordable Care Act.

"With the passage of time, this has become a less popular law, and Americans are asking for relief from this law, especially considering that this law is one that the president himself has described as not ready to implement. The president is not going to follow the law as written. We shouldn't fund it," said Lee.

Many Americans work hard and have health insurance. Lawmakers that oppose the individual mandate, or any sort of requirement that people have health insurance, essentially take the position that those who are responsible will pay for those who are irresponsible, pay for those who can afford insurance, but don't purchase it.

"I assure you that's not my position. I don't know any Republicans who feel that way," said Lee.

"There are lots of proposals out there that we can consider that don't involve Obamacare, that don't involve these massive exchanges that people can't even predict as to their cost, that don't involve this individual mandate that is a massive intrusion into individual privacy and liberty," said Lee.

To be clear, Lee said he opposes the federal government instituting an individual mandate, but, "If a state government wanted to do that, I'm aware of no constitutional impediment from the federal constitution that would prohibit them from doing that."

So would the junior senator support such a requirement in his home state of Utah?

"I don't know that the people of Utah would support such a policy, but I'm not going to speculate on what I might do if I in fact were a state lawmaker, because I'm not and never have been," said Lee.

CNN's Edward Meagher contributed to this report.

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