Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he recognizes Republicans will face blow back if they fail to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“I accept that we will get hit for this. We’re in leadership, we don’t have a choice, we’re a majority,” Ryan said at an Axios event in downtown Washington, D.C., Wednesday. “I just don’t think from a moral standpoint that’s something we can do. We have to intervene to fix this problem because real people are actually getting hurt.”
It took House Republicans two concerted efforts to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in early-May. The process stalled in March amid infighting between conservative and moderate Republicans. (RELATED: Meet The Group Of Conservatives Holding Up Health Care Reform)
Republicans were only able to pass health care reform in the House after Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey stuck an agreement, known as the MacArthur amendment, that allowed conservatives and moderates to support the legislation.
The MacArthur amendment lets states opt out of certain provisions of Obamacare through waivers. The amendment was a great sell in the House because it provided key concessions to both conservatives and moderates. Conservatives wanted states to have greater autonomy in implementing Obamacare, which they got through the waiver system. Moderates gained peace of mind in knowing that Medicaid customers, as well as pre-existing conditions, will still be protected under the law.
The AHCA is currently up for debate in the Senate, where a similar divide between conservatives and moderate Republicans is playing out, threatening to halt what little progress Republicans have made thus far. (RELATED: Divide Among GOP Members Of Congress Isn’t Going Anywhere)
Democrats in the Senate are sure to oppose any Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare, as they feel a duty to support former President Barack Obama’s hallmark legislative achievement. A slew of negative coverage surrounding the AHCA and a Congressional Budget Office score that predicts massive losses in insurance coverage have Democrats angling to use Obamacare repeal as a chief campaign issue in the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.
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