House Speaker Paul Ryan opted to switch up the format of his weekly press conference Thursday, walking the Capitol Hill press corps through the ins and outs of his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare in a town-hall style speech.
Sporting rolled up sleeves and a Powerpoint presentation, Ryan made his case for the White House-backed plan, asserting he believes it’s the best chance to reform the health-care system.
Conservatives have recently vocalized concerns about the measure due to its language on tax credits, which they feel creates a new entitlement program, Medicaid reform and a 30 percent premium hike for those who opt to drop their coverage.
Ryan encouraged the party to unify around the bill, arguing Obamacare is in a “death spiral” and it’s the party’s best chance to deliver on their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“This is the closest we’ve been to repealing and replacing Obamacare and … it’s the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” he said.
Ryan pushed back against criticisms, noting that House members are taking a three-pronged approach to tackle their goals as only certain language can be included in the reconciliation process.
The second leg would involve the administration repealing Obamacare regulations via executive order, while the third aims to pass additional replacement language that can’t be added to the initial bill due to Senate rules. Proponents of “A Better Way Agenda,” would attempt to accomplish goals like allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines in legislation later in the year.
“Under Obamacare,” the people who must have health insurance–the older and sicker person is buying it–it’s cranking up the cost of the insurance so fast that the premiums are just spiraling out of control, and the insurers are losing so much money that they’re just pulling out of the marketplace,” he said. “It is literally an actuarial, or mathematical collapse of the insurance markets. That is what America is facing today.”
GOP lawmakers have repeatedly said they plan to keep Obamacare’s popular provisions in place, including ensuring insurers cover preexisting conditions and allowing dependents to stay on their parent’s plans until the age of 26, in tact — promising people can keep their plans if they want.
“The key thing that a lot of people want to know…is that when we pass this, the next day they’re not going to lose their health insurance,” he continued. “That’s not going to happen.”
Ryan said he hopes to be able to send the legislation to the Senate before Easter recess.
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