Ryan vague on timeline for O-Care replacement

Ryan vague on timeline for O-Care replacement
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (R-Wis.) said Monday that he does not have an “exact timeline” for rolling out an ObamaCare replacement plan next year, adding that committees will play a leading role in the plan’s development.

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“We need to have an alternative, and that’s something that I’m going to be pushing our congressional committees to develop and to roll out in 2016,” Ryan said during an interview with a Wisconsin radio station. “I don’t have an exact timeline. I don’t want to be, you know, the dictator of the House. I’m the Speaker of the House.”

Ryan also emphasized the committee process, something that he has put a focus on in his Speakership.

Republicans have for years promised not only to repeal ObamaCare but to replace it. However, the party has so far been unable to coalesce around a plan and vote on it.

In a major address last Thursday, Ryan vowed to unveil a replacement plan next year, saying the need to replace the law is “urgent.”

He indicated in that speech that the plan could be centered on a tax credit to help people afford insurance.

“I’ve long believed we should offer an individual tax credit to help people pay for premiums — giving more to the old and sick,” Ryan said.

A tax credit is at the center of several Republican proposals, such as those from GOP presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Cuban negotiator says Trump's efforts to destabilize Cuba's government will fail Freedom to Compete Act would benefit many American workers MORE (Fla.), as well as lawmakers like Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).

ObamaCare also centers on a tax credit, though it is more generous for poorer people, in contrast to Republican plans that tend to adjust the credit based on age instead of income. Republican proposals also tend not to have ObamaCare’s mandate for people to buy insurance or its ban on insurance companies discriminating based on people’s pre-existing health conditions.

Developing a full replacement plan will also force Republicans to confront trade-offs like how to pay for the plan.

Ryan said Monday that he was already working on a plan as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, before he became Speaker in October.

“I was working on one anyway as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,” Ryan said. “I’ve handed that work off to the new chairman, a guy named Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTreasury to miss Dem deadline for Trump tax returns Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns Mnuchin tells Congress it's 'premature' to talk about Trump tax returns decision MORE, and I fully expect and anticipate, and am pushing for, us to showcase that in 2016.”

Congressional Republicans are also planning a retreat next month in Baltimore, where input on the plan can be gathered.