Ryan: GOP’s goal is to replace, repeal ObamaCare ‘concurrently’

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Tuesday that some elements required to replace ObamaCare could be included in the earlier process to repeal the healthcare law.

Ryan, however, didn’t identify specific elements or get into other details of how that process would work.

The Speaker’s comments come as GOP leaders are facing enormous pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, centrist Republicans and conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus to tackle the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare simultaneously.

{mosads}“It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” Ryan told reporters after meeting with House Republicans behind closed doors.

“We’re going to use every tool at our disposal through legislation, through regulation, to bring replace concurrent along with repeal, so that we can save people from this mess.”

In the GOP conference meeting, Ryan told his colleagues he expects the House will press forward and vote Friday on a Senate-passed budget that will start the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That’s despite calls from Freedom Caucus members for more details about how the repeal and replacement process would unfold.

But Freedom Caucus lawmakers said they didn’t expect to band together and scuttle the budget vote.

“I think some members want more clarification, but I didn’t sense there was going to be organized [opposition],” one Freedom Caucus member told The Hill.

Ryan provided no details about what replacement elements would be included, calling it a “Senate question” about what Republicans can put in budget reconciliation.

Lawmakers leaving the Tuesday morning meeting mentioned expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts as an element of a replacement that could be included with repeal.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) also said leadership sought to assuage concerns about needing to move faster on replacement by saying Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, would have the ability to make changes through regulation at HHS as well.

Collins mentioned loosening ObamaCare’s “essential health benefits,” which are rules on what insurance plans must cover, as a possible regulatory action.

Leadership is “trying to soothe over some of the issues in reminding folks of the extraordinary latitude that Dr. Price will have as secretary of HHS,” Collins said.

Tags Donald Trump Paul Ryan
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