Speed Reads

ObamaCare repeal and....?

Paul Ryan suggests Republicans will replace ObamaCare in Trump's first 100 days

The Democrats spent more than a year writing and refining the Affordable Care Act, and the Health and Human Services Department took another several years to get the various parts up and running. Republicans say the complexity of the law is part of its problem, and there's an open question of how fast they will repeal it, what they plan to replace it with, and when. At a CNN town hall forum on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) aligned himself with President-elect Donald Trump's urging to replace the law as soon as possible, preferably simultaneously.

"We want to do this at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill," Ryan said. "So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time." Republicans are moving "as quickly as they can," he said — the Senate has already started the repeal process — and when it comes to a replacement law, "we're working on this as fast as possible," adding that Republicans will act "definitely within these first 100 days" of Trump's administration.

Ryan also laid out some of his ideas for an ObamaCare replacement, saying "people with pre-existing conditions, no matter how much money they make," should have access to health insurance. A cancer survivor in the audience who identified himself as a Republican and onetime strident critic of ObamaCare told Ryan the law and President Obama had saved his life, then asked: "Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?" Ryan said, "Oh, we wouldn't do that — we want to replace it with something better," and talked about state high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions. For people under 65 with cancer, for example, "we obviously want to have a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt because they get sick," he said. "But we can do that without destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else."

You can read more about state high-risk pools, their shortcomings, and their traditionally underfunded history, and you can watch a 2-minute recap of Ryan's other remarks at the town hall — including his tough line on Russia, a "global menace led by a man who is menacing," and demonstration that yes, he does know how to dab — below. Peter Weber