Paul Ryan: ‘Health Care Is Not Dead’

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: U.S. speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan is greeted by British Chancellor Philip Hammond to 11 Downing Street on April 19, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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The GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is still moving forward, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan confirmed in London Wednesday.

Ryan answered questions at the Policy Exchange think tank in London Wednesday. When asked about plans to move forward with a Republican Health care plan, the Speaker was unequivocal. “Health care is not dead, we’re still working on it,” he said.

“We have to step in front of this crisis,” Ryan said about the future of president Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly called “Obamacare.” Ryan characterized the current system as “collapsing under its own weight” and pointed to numerous states and counties in which only a single insurance company is still offering coverage. “We’re talking about a system in dire need of reform,” he cautioned.

The plan Ryan himself wholeheartedly pushed to replace Obamacare, the “American Health Care Act (AHCA),” had to be withdrawn before it reached a vote due to insufficient support on the House floor and even less favorable public polling.

In the intervening weeks, however, there have been indications the different factions within the House Republican majority, including the Freedom Caucus so instrumental in defeating the AHCA, have been readying a second attempt at repeal and replace. Speaker Ryan seemed to  confirm that such a regrouping is in the works. “We’re in the midst of negotiating sorta finishing touches,” he said of an as-of-yet unannounced plan. “It’s difficult to do. We’re very close. It’s basically ‘make good on the promises that were made.'”

While details were skant, Ryan offered up what he considered the goals of the next Republican effort to make good on one of the party’s longest- standing campaign issues.

“We want to have a system in America where everyone has affordable access to good health insurance … including people with pre-existing conditions. That is not what the current law does and it’s just gonna take us a little time to make good on that,” Ryan said.

Ryan also explained his reasoning for keeping the order of his legislative priorities unchanged: finishing health care first before moving on to tax reform. “It makes it much easier for us to do tax reform if we first do health care reform,” Ryan said. According to him, repealing Obamacare will necessarily repeal nearly $1 trillion in taxes. “The way that works in our numbers is ten points of corporate tax rate reduction.”


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