Speaker Ryan on ABC: "This Is A Rescue Mission" | Speaker.gov



This morning, in an interview with ABC's This Week, Speaker Ryan discussed the American Health Care Act, and addressed various claims about the bill. Here is video of the full interview, along with several excerpts from the transcript:

"THIS IS A RESCUE MISSION"

"Let's remember what is happening right now. Obamacare is collapsing. Obamacare isn't working. What good is Obamacare for anybody, let alone for a person with preexisting conditions if you don't have a health insurance plan that you can even get. So this is a rescue mission to make sure that we can achieve the goals we all want, which is getting the cost of coverage down and making sure that everyone has access to affordable health care, especially and including people with pre-existing conditions. That is what our bill does.

"So let me just say a couple of things. You have got all of these health insurers. If they were doing so well, why would they be pulling out of the marketplace? Over 1,000 counties, one in three counties in America have one plan to choose from. Just this week in Iowa, their last statewide insurer said that they are going to have to pull out. So that means people in 94 of Iowa's 99 counties will have zero choices. Aetna just pulled out of Virginia. The law is collapsing. It's not working.

"You can't get health insurance in these places, whether you have a pre-existing condition or not. And so what we're trying to do here, George, is step in front of this collapsing law and make sure that we can have a system that works, a system with choice and competition and affordable premiums."

PROTECTIONS FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

"So under this bill -- under this bill, no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. And under this bill, you cannot only not be denied coverage…you can't be charged higher -- let me finish my point. You can't charge people more if they keep continuous coverage. The key of having a continuous coverage provision is to make sure that people stay covered and they move from one plan to the next if they want to. It's kind of like waiting until your house is on fire to then buy your homeowner's insurance. You want to make sure that people stay covered to keep the cost down. 

"...So I was getting there until you just cut me off. The point of this bill in those states that get a waiver to do what they need to do to make it work better in their particular states has support exactly for that very person who, if, in the course between a year, get extra aid for support for pre-existing conditions. And on the state waivers, they're on the condition that a state has a working high-risk pool to help specifically that person with pre-existing conditions. ... 

"That is the approach we're having here, because our goal is this, George, get everyone access to affordable care, including people with pre-existing conditions. And that is not happening under Obamacare."

REGARDING PROCESS CONCERNS 

"Yes, I think this is a kind of a bogus attack from the left. Let me say a couple of things. The bill has been online for two months. ... The final version was an amendment that was three pages long. It takes you 30 seconds to read. By the way, Obamacare was over 2,000 pages. This bill is under 200 pages. It doesn't take long to go through this bill, and the final amendment -- three pages long.

"But more importantly, we got two CBO scores. And the most recent CBO score show that we're perfectly in compliance with the Senate budget rules, which is what matters here. And this last amendment, a three-page amendment, is not going to dramatically alter that score. It didn't -- it was narrow changes to the bill. That has been online for quite some time."

MORE ON PROTECTIONS FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

"We looked at the whole country and we wanted to see is there a situation, under any situation, with the state getting a waiver, if there is a person that could get charged higher health care costs because of their health status, because of preexisting condition? We looked and decided there might be a situation where, within the course of one year, a person could conceivably get higher health care costs. This amendment affects that.

"So we have all these multiple layers of protection to make sure that these families, that these people -- look, these are our friends and our constituents. We will want to make sure people who have bad health care status, who have a preexisting condition, get affordable coverage. And that's not happening in Obamacare. You got to remember, if you can't even get a health insurance plan, what good is it? You don't have health insurance."

REPEALING OBAMACARE'S TAXES

"A couple of things. We're keeping our word, which is we're repealing and replacing the entirety of this law, which is we're repealing all the Obamacare taxes. The Obamacare taxes are job-killing taxes that hurt economic growth and more importantly make health insurance more expensive. These taxes, and most of them are aimed at the health care system, which actually makes those premiums higher. It pushes medical device companies overseas, it makes it more expensive for you to buy your health care. That's point number one."

MEDCAID REFORMS TO HELP THE VULNERABLE

"But the Medicaid, what we're doing with Medicaid, we're giving the states the ability to customize Medicaid to meet the particular needs of their vulnerable populations. You've got to remember, Medicaid is a program that is administered by the states, but micromanaged by the federal government, and not very well. More and more doctors are refusing to even accept people with Medicaid. And so we want to give the states the ability to customize the Medicaid program to work for their particular states.

"We're -- we're giving states the ability to run their own Medicaid program. And it is increasing for medical inflation. And by the way, we recognize that for certain people in Medicaid, the disabled, the aged, the people in nursing homes, we're giving them a bigger increase so that their funds are even more than everybody else. And so by giving states the right to run Medicaid, and giving them a block grant, per capita bloc grant, or a bloc grant, and then increasing that the spending by medical inflation, I hardly think that's draconian."

THE FATAL CONCEIT OF OBAMACARE

"Again, George, here is the fatal conceit of Obamacare, it says we're going to micromanage this with bureaucrats with Washington telling every state and every community how it must work. That is failing. Medicaid is not working. Obamacare is collapsing. Insurance plans are pulling out. People are not getting no choices, if any at all. And we have to fix this. This is a rescue operation. And you have to acknowledge, every state is a little different. And so what we're trying to achieve here, and what this bill does achieve, gives states the ability to meet the needs of their populations, but put the resources in there so that everyone can have affordable health insurance coverage."

REGARDING POLITICAL CONCERNS AND WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT

"Number one, health care is a complicated and very emotional personal issue. And we completely understand that. The system is failing. We're stepping in front of it and rescuing people from a collapsing system. And more importantly, we're keeping our word. That's really important here, George. People expect their elected leaders, if they run and campaign on doing something, they expect them to do that. And that's what we're doing. We're keeping our word. And I would argue that we would spell disaster for ourselves, politically, if that's your question, if we go back on our word. This is us keeping our word. But most importantly, it's us trying to fix a real problem that real people are experiencing in this country."