WASHINGTON—Today on the House floor, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke in favor of the Obamacare repeal resolution the House will vote on later today. Below are the speaker’s remarks as delivered:
“My colleagues, I rise to urge our colleagues in the House to support this resolution—let me tell you why. This provides Congress with the legislative tools that we need to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is a critical first step toward delivering relief to Americans who are struggling under this law.
“In the weeks ahead, several steps will be taken to provide relief. Some steps will be taken by this body. Some steps will be taken by the new administration, including, after he is confirmed as HHS Secretary, our own colleague from Georgia, Mr. Price.
“Our goal is a truly patient-centered system, which means more options to choose from, lower costs, and greater control over your coverage. And as we work to get there, we will make sure that there is a stable transition period so that people don’t have the rug pulled out from under them. So this will be a thoughtful, step-by-step process, and we welcome ideas from both sides of the aisle.
“But today I can’t help but think back when we were debating this law in 2010, what was said at the time. I was a member of the minority then. I stood right here and pleaded with the majority not to do this. Don’t take something so personal like your health care and subject it to a big government experiment. Don’t do something so arrogant and so contrary to our founding principles. But they pushed it all the way through, making all kinds of promises.
“People were promised that their premiums would go down, but instead they are skyrocketing. Look at the new premium increases announced just this year: Kansas, 42 percent increase in their premiums; Illinois, 43 percent; Pennsylvania, 53 percent; Nebraska, 51 percent; Alabama, 58 percent; Minnesota, 59 percent; Tennessee, 63 percent increase in premiums; Oklahoma, 69 percent increase this year in premiums; Arizona, 116 percent increase in their premiums.
“People were promised, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it.’ Well, guess what—that was rated the ‘Lie of the Year’ that year. People lost their plans. People were promised all sorts of choices—you’ll have all these great menus of choices to choose from—a third of all the counties in America today, you get one choice. Five whole states, one insurer. If you have one choice, that’s not a choice—that’s a monopoly.
“My colleagues, this experiment has failed. This law is collapsing while we speak. We have to step in before things get worse. This is nothing short of a rescue mission. By taking this step today, we are doing what is right. We are stepping in and stopping the collapse from doing more harm to the working families of America, to bring the kind of relief and to bring the kind of solutions that we need to really achieve the noble goal here: Everyone in America should have access to affordable health care, including people with preexisting conditions.
“This is what we want to achieve, but that’s not what’s happening under Obamacare. The law is collapsing, the insurers are pulling out, people can’t afford it, the deductibles are so high it doesn’t even feel like you have insurance in the first place. This is a rescue mission. This is a necessary move. And I urge all of our colleagues to do what is right—because the time is urgent. And, on top of this, to my colleagues, we need to keep our promise that we made to the American people, and this helps us do just that.”