House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Thursday said Congressional Republicans would not unite around specific legislation to replace President Obama’s national health care law this year, but would instead present an alternative market-based “vision.”
In their 2010 “Pledge to America,” Republicans vowed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare if they gained power. Though the GOP-controlled House has voted to repeal the law since taking power in January 2011, it has not yet offered replacement legislation. If the U.S. Supreme Court were to strike down the law next month, Republicans would receive increased scrutiny about their lack of a plan to replace it.
“We do feel obligated to articulate our vision for replace,” Ryan said when asked about the matter during an editorial meeting with the Washington Examiner. “Now, we’ve got nine weeks of session left. Do we want to cram through our own 2,700 page vision? No, that’s what the country hated. But do we believe in patient-centered health care and market-based medicine? A lot of us have put time and effort into this, yeah.”
In the last Congress, Ryan co-sponsored specific health care legislation.
“There are a lot of people with different ideas and so, number one, I think our nominee is going to have a lot to say about this and that’s really important,” Ryan said. “Number two, we’re all discussing these contingencies and how we best articulate our vision. I don’t think it’s a good idea to put out some big bill, thump it on the table, that’s thousands of pages and then try ramming it through, because that’s precisely the process that angered the country so much.”
Though Ryan said Republicans generally agree on goals, they haven’t yet coalesced around a way to get there.
“I think what we’ll probably hopefully do is put out a vision for how we think we should fix this thing and all the catalogue of solutions that are out there,” he said. “We’ve got lots of them, whether it’s insurance reforms, risk pools and pooling mechanisms, tax treatment of health care – the things we think are necessary to get to the root causes of medical inflation and get the patient-centered system in place. There are different ways of doing it. On tax treatment of health care, some of our folks really like deductions, others like the tax credit route. There are various ways of doing that. I don’t think we’re going to settle specifically on one bill, because there are a lot of people who have different ideas on how to do this. I think our nominee will have a lot to say on that. But I think what we will aspire to do is put out a vision on what a patient-centered health care system looks like. And that vision is the replace side of repeal, which is what we want to execute in 2013.”