Health care was a minor focus of President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, however, he did say it was crucial for supporting the middle class — the focal point of his speech. “We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix,” Obama said. “And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.”

In a morning address prior to Obama’s speech, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Finance Committee, said he planned to take a piecemeal approach to alter the Affordable Care Act. “We’re going to continue to strike away at it, piece by piece if we have to,” he said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Also see: Senate Finance Committee to ‘strike away’ at the ACA

A bill repealing the ACA won’t get past Obama’s veto pen, Hatch said, but Republicans must agree on an alternative to the health care law should the Supreme Court overturn the subsidies rule, which says consumers who sign up for insurance on the public marketplace can receive premium tax credits in states that haven’t established their own exchange. The high court is set to hear arguments in King v. Burwell in March and a decision is expected by June.

Also see: Six states urge Supreme Court to uphold ACA subsidy challenge

Obama also said he will take action to help all workers earn seven days of sick leave each year, but the Republican-controlled Congress will likely oppose this, said Michael Droke, a Seattle-based partner in the labor and employment division at international law firm Dosey and Whitney. “Many larger companies already offer paid sick leave, so there is little impact on their businesses,” he said. “The Republican Congress, however, is unlikely to impose any new burdens on small business.”

Also see: Obama sick-leave proposal would create admin ‘nightmare’ for employers

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