Ryan: Healthcare failure could stall other GOP priorities

Ryan: Healthcare failure could stall other GOP priorities
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday warned GOP opponents of the party’s healthcare plan that the measure’s failure could derail progress on other key aspects of Republicans’ policy agenda.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Ryan said that a defeat of House Republicans’ bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare would be “momentum killing,” essentially having a domino effect on planned tax reform efforts, among other party goals.

“Think of legislation as one train track with a bunch of trains on the track,” Ryan said. “If you don’t get these trains through the system, it slows everything else down."

“So if we didn’t get this done in time, according to our schedule — and we’re planning five weeks over this, this is a five week process of passing this bill, which is fairly lengthy. It slows absolutely everything down, pushes tax reform off past the summer.”

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Ryan joined Republicans’ recent attacks on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the independent scorekeeper that is expected to soon render an estimate of the cost of the GOP’s healthcare and insurance bill, known as the American Health Care Act, and how many people it will impact.

Republicans have preemptively cast doubt on the CBO’s judgement amid fears that the assessment will reveal that the GOP plan will cost the government more money, insure fewer people, or possibly both.

“We always know you’re never going to win a coverage beauty contest when it’s free market versus government mandates,” Ryan said. “If the government says thou shall buy our health insurance, the government estimates are going to say people will comply and it will happen.”

“And when you replace that with we’re going to have a free market, and you buy what you want to buy, they’re going to say not nearly as many people are going to do that,” he added. “That’s just going to happen.”

The White House said this week the budget office's scoring was "way off last time" with its projected numbers. 

"If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place," press secretary Sean Spicer said.

The House GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare has received mixed reviews among rank-and-file Republicans since being unveiled on Monday. While leading GOP lawmakers and the White House have given a thumbs up to the plan, some conservatives have already positioned themselves as fierce opponents of the measure, arguing that it does not go far enough to roll back the Affordable Care Act.