WASHINGTON—Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of the American Health Care Act, which will repeal and replace Obamacare. Below are the speaker’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I want to thank all the committee chairs who took up this bill: Chairman Walden, Chairman Brady, Chairman Black, and Chairman Sessions. I want to thank the members of those committees: Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Budget, and Rules. I want to thank all the members who made constructive contributions throughout this process.
“I want to thank the President of the United States for his steadfast leadership. In his address in this chamber, he called on Congress to act, and today we take the next step to repeal and replace Obamacare. I want to thank Vice President Pence, Secretary Price, Director Mulvaney, and their teams.
“My colleagues, there is a fundamental—and urgent—choice at the heart of this debate. We can continue with the status quo under Obamacare. We know that looks like. It means even higher premiums, even fewer choices, even more insurance companies pulling out, even more uncertainty, even more chaos.
“Look at what has happened in Iowa this week. As is the case in so many areas in this country, Iowa is down to one insurer. That, of course, is not a choice.
“But now that one insurer is saying it will have to pull out of 94 of the 99 counties in Iowa. So tens of thousands of Iowans will go from one option to no options. That is not a choice. It is a crisis. And it is happening right now.
“What protection is Obamacare if there is no health plan to purchase in your state? This is the direction Obamacare is rapidly heading. So we can continue with this status quo, or we can put Obamacare behind us. End this failed experiment.
“Let’s make it easier for people to afford their insurance. Let’s give people more choices and more control over their care. Let’s make insurance companies come in and compete for your business. Let’s return power from Washington to the states. Let’s help people get real peace of mind. Let’s put the patient—not the bureaucrats—at the heart of the system.
“This bill does all of these things. It delivers on the promises we have made to the American people. Yes, many of us have been waiting seven years to cast this vote. But many of us are here because we pledged to cast this very vote. To repeal and replace Obamacare. To rescue people from this collapsing law.
“Are we going to meet this test? Are we going to be men and women of our word? Are we going to keep the promises that we have made? Or are we going to falter?
“After all this—after seeing what is happening in Iowa and around the country—are we going to leave this collapsing law in place, knowing all the turmoil this country will face? My answer is no.
“Today is not that day. Today, this House has the opportunity to do more than simply fulfill a promise. We have the opportunity to raise our gaze, and set a bold course for our country. To show we have the resolve to tackle the big challenges before they tackle us. To stop the drift of arrogant, big-government policies in our lives. And begin a new era of reform based on liberty and self-determination. Today is the day to lead.
“So let’s pass this bill to take the next step to put Obamacare behind us. Let’s pass this bill to build a better health care system for American families. Let’s pass this bill to leave this country better than we found it. That is what is really at stake today. That is why I will be proud to cast my vote for this legislation. And I urge my colleagues to do the same.”