House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that congressional Republicans weren’t interested in working with Democrats on a replacement for Obamacare because the opposition party “want to go down the socialized medicine path.”
During his weekly press briefing Thursday, Ryan was asked about congressional Republicans’ decision to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, rather than work with Democrats to change the current law. Was it possible, the New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer asked, to pass a replacement without Democratic support? And did Ryan wish he had more Democratic support?
“We would love to have support from the other side,” Ryan began in response. “But they’ve made it really clear to us that they’re not interested in doing that. I think, Jennifer, what the Democrats, just taking them at their word, they want to go down the socialized medicine path, they want to go down the government-run health care path. They want what they call the public option, which is to basically have no options but a government-run plan.”
Despite dozens of House votes to repeal Obamacare – and Donald Trump’s campaign promise to do away with the law – Congress has stalled on how to go about dismantling President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. The slow pace has rankled some conservative lawmakers and activists.
The public option, which would establish a government-run alternative to private health insurance, has received something of a revival of support among the liberal wing of the party recently.
In September of last year, 33 Democratic senators signed a non-binding resolution to add the public option to Obamacare.
“That is not something that we’re interested in doing,” Ryan said. “We think it will do even more damage to the health care system in America. And so we believe in a patient-centered system where individuals have the freedom to buy what they want and not what the government makes them buy.”