Congress

Paul Ryan wants Obamacare repeal this year, but stays vague on replacement plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Thursday the legislating on Obamacare repeal and replacement will be done this year.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Thursday the legislating on Obamacare repeal and replacement will be done this year. AP

The legislating to repeal and replace Obamacare will happen this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday, though phasing in changes could take far more time.

“Our legislating will occur this year,” the Wisconsin Republican told his weekly Capitol Hill news conference. “What date all of this gets phased in on is something we do not know now.”

That’s been a criticism from Democrats about the repeal plan, and Ryan could not provide any specifics on how or when Obamacare would be replaced.

He spent much of the news conference blasting the current system but could not say how many people could be insured under any GOP plan.

“We have to provide relief for people. Our goal is to have a health care system that actually works,” he said.

But on replacement, he said, “We’re gonna be methodical. We’re gonna be deliberative and we’re going to do this the right way.”

And, Ryan said, “We’ll have a transition period so people do not have the rug pulled out from underneath them while we get to a better place.”

The Senate began debate Wednesday on the first step of the repeal process. Passage is expected next week. If approved, as expected, by both houses of Congress, committees would have to come up with repeal details by Jan. 27.

Democratic leaders met with then-president Barack Obama on Jan. 4, 2017 to discuss the future of his signature healthcare law. "They're like the dog who caught the bus," said Schumer of his Republican colleagues.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Wednesday discussed plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's controversial health care law. Pence was on Capitol Hill to meet with Republican congressional leaders to discuss strategy.

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

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