“I didn’t come here to be popular, I came here to get stuff done.”
Those were the words of House Speaker Paul Ryan at the National Review Institute’s 2017 Ideas Summit in Washington.
Despite criticism from members of his own party, Ryan remains confident that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying, “We actually, really, within our power as Republicans, have the once-in-a-lifetime chance of actually repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
However, the House Freedom Caucus still opposes the bill “in its current form,” according to a tweet from the Caucus’ Twitter account.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the Freedom Caucus, remains against the bill despite the promise of changes. The Hill reported that, “Meadows suggested he knew changes were coming, but indicated they wouldn’t be enough to get his support,” in an interview with C-SPAN.
In response to the support for the AHCA from the Republican Study Committee, a source for the House Freedom Caucus told The Hill, “Today’s announcement of the RSC’s support for the bill doesn’t change that. If the bill were brought to the floor today, it would fail to get enough votes.”
Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of The Heritage Foundation, also criticized the bill in a Daily Signal op-ed Friday, writing that the GOP health care bill “allows the core regulatory architecture of Obamacare to remain intact.”
Ryan touched on the challenge Republicans will have passing the bill in the Senate, saying, “The challenge for us in the House is, we have to work with the Senate rules.”
In order for the bill to be passed through reconciliation, which would allow it to pass the Senate with 51 votes, it must deal with budgetary matters. As a result, lawmakers are unable to include certain health-care policies in the bill.
“We’re putting as much ‘replace’ policy as we can that conform with Senate rules, so that they can’t block the bill from even being considered past that,” Ryan said.
Republicans have divided the repeal and replacement of Obamacare into three parts, saying the AHCA is the first part.
The Trump administration, Ryan continued, will deal with part two, which includes “deregulation, that kind that lets the states go back and set up their own marketplaces.”
Part three, Ryan said, “are the other bills that we would like to pass that we know we can’t through reconciliation. … That’s what interstate shopping [and] association health plans are all about.”
“We proved in the last session that we can put a bill on the president’s desk repealing Obamacare,” Ryan said, “We did that and now we’ve taken that bill and we’ve added ‘replace’ to it.”
“Repeal it and replace it with patient-centered health care that’s market driven that gives people the ability to go and do and buy what they want in a deregulated marketplace,” said Ryan.