Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ryan: Lawmakers will act this year on replacing Obamacare

House Speaker Paul Ryan . holds his copy of insurance premium statistics during a news conference on Capitol Hill  on Thursday. [Associated Press]

House Speaker Paul Ryan . holds his copy of insurance premium statistics during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday. [Associated Press]

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers will act this year on bills not simply repealing President Barack Obama's health care law but replacing it as well, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.

The remarks by Ryan, R-Wis., suggested a faster schedule than some had expected on reshaping the nation's health care system. While Republicans have said they plan to vote this year on dismantling Obama's law, Ryan went a step further, saying they also would write legislation to replace it in 2017.

It won't be easy.

Despite unifying for years behind the notion of dismantling Obama's 2010 law, Republicans have yet to rally behind a plan for replacing it, stymied by divisions over how to do it and pay for the changes.

"Our legislating on Obamacare, our repealing and replacing and transitioning, the legislating will occur this year," Ryan told reporters, using a nickname for the law.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said by "legislating," Ryan meant lawmakers will write legislation and vote on it.

With Donald Trump set to become president on Jan. 20, Republicans running Congress now face the political imperative to deliver on their oft-repeated promises to erase and replace the health law.

Democrats, who helped Obama enact the law without any GOP votes, are planning to defend the overhaul, but they're outnumbered in the House and Senate.

No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said writing a new health care law would be a top priority in his chamber but stopped short of saying senators would complete that this year.

"The Senate operating at warp speed is still nothing compared to what the House can do," he said in a brief interview.

The law created marketplaces where consumers can buy coverage and provided subsidies to help people afford premiums, expanded Medicaid for lower-earning people and set requirements for the types of care that insurers must cover. Overall, it's provided coverage for 20 million additional people.

Republicans want to abolish the law's penalties for individuals who don't buy policies and for some larger businesses that don't cover employees. They want to ease federal coverage requirements and have proposed providing tax credits to help people afford coverage.

Since the new Congress convened this week, Republicans have taken initial, procedural steps toward voiding the law.

Lawmakers hope to finish a budget next week that would prevent Democrats from using a filibuster to block a future bill repealing the health law. That same budget would give congressional committees until late February to write legislation annulling much of the overhaul.

On a party-line 52-48 vote Thursday, Republicans defeated a Democratic proposal that would have allowed a filibuster — which requires 60 votes to end — of any bill repealing the health care law unless it would also fully replace it.

Republicans are discussing delaying the date when repeal would take effect, for perhaps several years. That is designed to allow time to craft replacement legislation and to phase in changes so people don't abruptly lose coverage.

Ryan: Lawmakers will act this year on replacing Obamacare 01/05/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2017 3:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]