Ryan brings out slideshow to sell GOP healthcare bill

Greg Nash

Jacket off and sleeves rolled up, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday ditched the podium and delivered a 25-minute TED Talk-like presentation on why the new GOP health bill represents the best, and perhaps only, chance to repeal ObamaCare.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing ObamaCare,” Ryan told reporters at the end of his slideshow presentation. “The time is here; the time is now. This is the moment.”

The Speaker typically stands behind a podium and answers questions from reporters during his Thursday news briefings. But on this day, reporters in the room weren’t the intended audience.

The change in format ensured that all the major cable news networks — CNN, MSNBC and Fox News — carried the Speaker’s presentation live for more than 20 minutes, bringing his repeal message live to homes and offices around the country.

The presentation comes at a critical moment for the House GOP’s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. House and Senate conservatives, along with their allied outside groups, are rebelling against the American Health Care Act, with some calling on leaders to scrap the plan and start over.

But one House committee early Thursday advanced its portion of the measure, and another panel is making progress as well.

Clicker in hand, Ryan defended the bill — and the process leaders are using to overhaul the healthcare system. Pointing to charts and graphs on several screens, the Speaker explained the three phases of repeal and replacement.

The first is the bill Republicans will try to pass using the budget reconciliation process. That process allows for the Senate to push the legislation through with a simple majority rather than the usual 60-vote threshold, avoiding a Democratic filibuster.

Phase 2, Ryan said, represents all of the administrative actions Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price can do unilaterally to deregulate the marketplace and lower costs. 

And Phase 3 involves passing legislation containing the ObamaCare replacement provisions that cannot be done through reconciliation, Ryan said. Things like the ability to sell health insurance across state lines.

Those Phase 3 bills, however, will face a 60-vote threshold in the Senate, meaning they will need support from Democrats to pass.

“It’s a three-pronged approach to repealing and replacing ObamaCare,” Ryan said.

Tags Paul Ryan

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