Ryan says House in ‘concepts stage’ of new health care bill

Political Beat

Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock.com

Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock.com

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) acknowledged that Republicans’ efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act are stalled for now.

“We’re all at the concepts stage right now – but productive conversations” are occurring, Ryan told a WisPolitics.com audience in Washington, D.C. “It’s all about, ‘How do we get there?’”

Ryan said the conservative Freedom Caucus, moderate Tuesday Group and the rest of the Republicans who make up the House Republican Conference are almost in agreement on a plan.

“On that bill, we’re basically 90 percent of the way there,” Ryan said. “To pass a bill we need to be 95 percent of the way there. Sometimes, you go to the floor when you’re at 90 hoping you’ll get to 95. But that’s why I pulled the bill (on March 24), because I want us to keep talking.”

Ryan insisted that although he originally envisioned passing an ACA repeal bill by April, the House is “not really” under the gun. “We’re not going to put some sort of artificial deadline, especially when we don’t have to… to get it right,” he said.

Republicans’ inability to quickly coalesce on a plan is a symptom of not controlling the White House for eight years, Ryan said.

“We are going through the inevitable growing pains that we must go through to convert from being a 10-year opposition party to being a governing party within the span of four months,” Ryan said. “And so, did I ever think it would go perfectly? No, of course not. Two-thirds of our members have never served with a Republican president before.”

Ryan dismissed the conventional wisdom that Republicans have to pass health care legislation before moving on to other priorities, such as tax reform, or even necessities like keeping the federal government funded and not allowing the U.S. to default on its debts.

-Wispolitics.com is a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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