Ryan: We’ll Try To Repeal And Replace Obamacare ‘Concurrently’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., listens during a news conference with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP caucus at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Pence and Ryan promised repeal of President Obama’s health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday indicated that Republicans in Congress will look to repeal and replace Obamacare at the same time, diverging from Republicans’ previous plan of repealing the health care law quickly but delaying passing a replacement plan.

“This will unfold as we bring this process together. But it is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” Ryan told reporters about the repeal and replace process. “We already showed people what we believe in — what Obamacare should be replaced with, so we’re gonna use every tool at our disposal, through legislation, through regulation, to bring replace concurrent along with repeal so that we can save people from this mess.”

The speaker also said that Republicans’ plan would also make sure “there is a stable transition period so that people do not have the rug pulled out from under them.”

Ryan’s comments follow apprehension among certain key Republican senators about repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan lined up. Five senators on Monday night introduced an amendment to delay the process to repeal Obamacare by more than a month. The senators said the delay would “ensure that we move forward with a smart, responsible plan to replace the law as quickly as possible.” Members of the House Freedom Caucus also signaled Monday night that they will need to know more about a replacement plan before voting to move forward with repealing Obamacare.

The speaker also indicated Tuesday that Republicans will look to deal with replacement as much as possible through budget reconciliation, the process GOP lawmakers plan to use to repeal the law that avoids the Senate filibuster. But Ryan said that Republicans may pass additional health care reforms outside of that.

“We will pass as much as we can through whatever vehicle we’ve got, and then we’ll pass all the other things through regular order, outside of reconciliation, that show you the full scope of what a real replacement effort looks like,” he told reporters. “But just know, repealing Obamacare in the beginning and giving people relief and allowing companies to compete and giving more choices to begin with will help heal this problem we have.”

“So immediately we can provide relief this year to families struggling under Obamacare. That’s good. Then we want to build on that success by even getting more reforms through regular order if it has to occur outside of reconciliation,” Ryan added. “The point being, we have ideas and solutions.”