Asked About Millions Losing Care, Ryan Says ‘Lowering Costs’ Is What Matters

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 2, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday called estimates that millions of people could lose health care coverage under an Obamacare replacement a “bogus” metric, and said lowering costs for everyone was more important.

Ryan also said he could “guarantee” that a finalized proposal would have enough votes to pass the House of Representatives.

“By some estimates, 10 million people could lose coverage. Is that acceptable?” one reporter asked Ryan at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has not released its analysis of the House GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan, Standard & Poors released such an analysis Tuesday.

S&P found that 2 to 4 million people enrolled in Obamacare’s individual marketplaces could lose coverage under the American Health Care Act, in addition to 4 to 6 million people currently covered by Medicaid.

“What matters is that we’re the lowering costs of health care and giving people access to affordable health care plans,” Ryan responded. “The government will always win the war on government-run plans, saying, if we mandate everybody buys what we say they have to buy, then the government will always estimate that they’ll buy it.”

“I just think that’s bogus, that entire premise of that comparison doesn’t work,” he continued. “The fact is, we’re not going to have the government tell you what you must do, tell you what you must buy.”

Ryan also said he was certain that the proposal, which was introduced in separate parts in the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee Monday night, would pass the House of Representatives.

“We will have 218 votes,” he said. “This is the beginning of the legislative process. We’ve got a few weeks. We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I can guarantee you that.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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