U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander acknowledged Thursday that the Affordable Care Act won’t be totally repealed if Republicans win control of the Senate, but he believes some provisions would be replaced, including a medical device tax that he says is costing jobs in Memphis.

He said popular ACA provisions banning insurance companies from denying coverage for people with pre-existing health conditions and allowing young adults to age 26 to remain covered by their parents’ health policies will be left intact.

In addition to repealing the medical device tax, the senator said, Republicans would also reduce or eliminate the higher taxes on high-deductible catastrophic care policies — but gave no further indication what other provisions of the ACA he will target for outright repeal.

But other GOP leaders have said the act’s mandate for individuals to buy health insurance if they don’t have employer- or government-sponsored coverage tops the party’s repeal agenda.

“I’m sure there’ll be a vote to repeal (the ACA as a whole), and I’ll vote for it, but I don’t think President Obama is going to sign a repeal of Obamacare. It would take 67 votes in the Senate to override his veto, but we shouldn’t just sit there — we should move as rapidly and responsibly as we can to repair the damage that Obamacare has caused,” Alexander said before a speech to automobile industry executives.

If he wins a third term and his GOP wins control of the Senate Nov. 4, Alexander is in line to be chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where any repeal or replacement legislation for the Affordable Care Act will be drafted.

“What I will do if I’m chairman of the Health Committee is move as rapidly and responsibly as we can to replace Obamacare with steps that provide more choice, more freedom and lower costs. There are a number of provisions that we can do that I believe Democrats would also support, and we’ll put them on the President’s desk and hope that he signs them.”

Alexander said he wants to let people buy insurance across state lines where they may find cheaper policies, let small businesses pool resources to buy cheaper coverage, and let employers provide lower-cost insurance to employees who lead healthy lifestyles.

He said higher taxes on cheaper high-deductible catastrophic care have prompted insurers like the Tennessee Farm Bureau to cease selling such policies. He did not say how lost revenue from its repeal, and from abolishing the medical device tax, would be replaced.

Asked if he would repeal mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions, he said, “the steps that we would take do not include changing that.”

Alexander told the auto industry conference that Tennessee can continue recruiting automaker and other jobs if the state maintains its Right to Work law (which says workers don’t have to join unions in union-covered workplaces), “keeps the best highways in the country” and improves job skills among the workforce.

Five blocks away and 15 minutes later, Democratic challenger Gordon Ball and six third-party and independent candidates debated each other in a hotel ballroom. Alexander declined to join them, heading instead to a drug company in Murfreesboro for a prearranged visit.

At the debate, Ball repeated his position: “I think health care is a right. Lamar Alexander thinks it’s a privilege.

“The real question now we have to decide or figure out is how to pay for the Affordable Care Act, and I think one of the ways we do that is to eliminate the antitrust immunity for insurance companies. In other words, don’t allow them to fix the prices on health insurance. That’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’ve done forever. Once we’ve done that, they compete on the open market and the consumer will be benefitted.”