Ryan aide: No shift in stance on healthcare assistance

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not shifting his position on how the financial assistance in an ObamaCare replacement would be structured, according to a spokeswoman, after questions were raised by his comments in a “60 Minutes” interview.

Ryan told the CBS News program that low-income people should receive more financial assistance to help them afford health insurance than higher-income people.

“If you’re a person that has low income, you probably should have more assistance than a person with high income, for example,” Ryan said.

That remark suggested a shift from Ryan’s Better Way healthcare plan, which called for basing the financial assistance only on people’s age, not their income.

Asked about the comments, Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said “there’s no shift in our policy.”

She said that Ryan still supports basing the financial assistance only on age and not on income.

The distinction between age and income-based financial assistance is an important one.

Democrats tend to criticize only basing financial assistance on age because it means that low-income people do not get an extra boost of help in affording coverage.

Under ObamaCare, financial assistance takes income into account, so that low-income people get more help.

The Better Way plan, though, criticized taking income into account, arguing that the policy provided a disincentive for people to work because a rise in income would mean that their financial assistance declined.

Some Republican ObamaCare replacement plans in the past have called for taking income into account, but others call for only using people’s age.

Chris Jacobs, a conservative health policy analyst and former advisor to the House Republican Conference, noted Ryan’s comments in favor of using income. 

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