Ryan: GOP Will Aim to Repeal and Replace Obamacare 'Concurrently'

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Jan 10, 2017 2:00 PM
Ryan: GOP Will Aim to Repeal and Replace Obamacare 'Concurrently'

House Speaker Paul Ryan said it is the GOP’s goal to make the repeal and replacement of Obamacare happen ‘concurrently.’

“It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with House Republicans.

“We’re going to 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.”

Ryan did not delve into detail as to how exactly that would work, despite calls from members of the House Freedom Caucus for further explanation.

“I think some members want more clarification, but I didn’t sense there was going to be organized [opposition],” one Freedom Caucus member told The Hill.

Ryan provided no details about what replacement elements would be included, calling it a “Senate question” about what Republicans can put in budget reconciliation.

Lawmakers leaving the Tuesday morning meeting mentioned expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts as an element of a replacement that could be included with repeal.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) also said leadership sought to assuage concerns about needing to move faster on replacement by saying Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, would have the ability to make changes through regulation at HHS as well.

Collins mentioned loosening ObamaCare's "essential health benefits," which are rules on what insurance plans must cover, as a possible regulatory action.

Leadership is "trying to soothe over some of the issues in reminding folks of the extraordinary latitude that Dr. Price will have as secretary of HHS," Collins said. 

Ryan told his colleagues in the meeting that he expects the House will move forward with a vote on a Senate-passed budget Friday, which will begin the process of repealing Obamacare.