Ryan insists Obamacare replacement will pass this year

The Ryan, McConnell split
The Ryan, McConnell split

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Story highlights

  • Ryan says House will act to replace the Affordable Care Act this year
  • Republicans have been divided on how quickly to move on Obamacare given the complexity of the law and political risk of cutting access to health care

(CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted Tuesday he intends to pass legislation to dismantle Obamacare and replace it with a new system in 2017 despite suggestions by President Donald Trump that such a move might have to wait until next year.

"The legislating is going to be done this year," Ryan told reporters after meeting with House Republicans.
He said there "was a little confusion" after being asked about Trump saying in an interview that the process could extend into next year. Ryan repeated that the process on Capitol Hill will be done in 2017, but added, "the question is, how long does it take to implement the full replacement of Obamacare."
The speaker maintained that getting Rep. Tom Price confirmed as the next secretary of health and human services will help the process, and called on the Senate to vote on his nomination.
House Republican leaders, led by GOP Whip Steve Scalise, are beginning Obamacare briefings in small groups starting next Tuesday. Key committee leaders will also be involved in these sessions, which are designed to keep members up to speed with the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare. Separately leadership staff are arranging staff level briefings to keep everyone on the same page with the messaging on the details.
In this morning's closed door conference meeting, Scalise encouraged members to go to the sessions and raise issues or proposals they want included in reconciliation package or in other piecemeal bills now, rather than wait for legislation to be unveiled, according to a Republican who attended. He stressed leaders were not writing the bill, but working with committee chairs and members to get their input.
"There's a lot of moving parts," Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, told CNN, but said "when it comes together no one knows."
Ryan reminded members at this morning's meetings how the process will work, and said key committees are busy working through proposals, according to multiple GOP members who attended the weekly conference meeting.
Rogers stressed that the current system is "is collapsing" so they are working to "do something that we have to do as soon as we can, but do it right"
But Rogers was skeptical that Ryan's timeline of having a vote in the first quarter of this year could hold. "I think it's possible," he said. "It's unlikely, but we'll see."