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Paul Ryan says replacement bill is an 'act of mercy' for 'the nightmare of Obamacare

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that the GOP replacement bill would end the "nightmare of Obamacare." (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) defended the "American Health Care Act" introduced to replace Obamacare, calling the former president's signature legislation a "nightmare" that is about to end. He made the comments in a press conference Tuesday.

"What I want to tell my fellow citizens," Ryan said in the announcement, "is that the nightmare of Obamacare is about to end. That we are doing what we said we would do in this campaign which is repeal and replace this awful law that is crashing."

Let me say one more thing. Let's not forget, Obamacare is collapsing. Obamacare isn't staying. If we did nothing the law would collapse and leave everybody without affordable health care.

"We are doing an act of mercy," Ryan continued, "that repealing this law and replacing it with patient-centered healthcare reforms that we as conservatives have been arguing for and fighting for, for years."

"I'm prepared to lead our conference to do what we said we would do in the election," Ryan said, ostensibly as a way of addressing criticisms that this bill isn't a full repeal.

We actually ran on a repeal and replace plan. That's what this is, the repeal and replace plan that we ran on. Now I am intent on making sure we fulfill our promises but I believe in regular order, I believe in going through the process the way it was meant to go through. We didn't write this bill in my office on Christmas Eve like they did in Harry Reid's office and then jam it through to an unsuspecting country.

These committees are writing this legislation. These committees will be marking up the legislation tomorrow. And then it goes to the budget committee the next week and then it goes to the rules committee on the floor the week after that, which is regular order.

"So I'm excited that we're doing this the right way," Ryan continued in a thinly veiled attack on the Democrats' healthcare bill, "I'm excited that we're doing this in plain sight."

"Let me just give you a list of what's in here that conservatives should be excited about," Ryan again addressed criticism from the right.

Number one, it repeals Obamacare. Number two, it repeals the Obamacare taxes, which is a massive tax relief for families for the cost of healthcare. It repeals the Obamacare spending, like the Medicare expansion and the Obamacare subsidies. It repeals the Obamacare mandates on individuals and businesses. It ends funding for Planned Parenthood and sends that money to community health centers.

It has a Medicaid per capita block grant, that's the biggest entitlement reform anybody has seen here for decades. It nearly doubles the amount of money people can contribute to health savings accounts, that is fundamental part and a crucial part of conservative healthcare policy.

It equalizes the tax treatment of healthcare. I've been doing conservative healthcare reform for twenty years. For twenty years, we as conservatives have been arguing for equalizing the tax treatment of healthcare of all Americans so we can have a vibrant, individual health market, so we have choice and competition.

"Look, here's, there are two ways of fixing healthcare," Ryan said, laying out what he saw as the philosophical distinction between the GOP bill and Obamacare. "Have the government run it, and ration it, and put price controls. That's what Obamacare does, that's what the left wants."

Or do what conservatives have been arguing for, for years. Have a vibrant free market where people get to do what they want, they buy what they want. Equalize the tax treatment, stop the discrimination in the tax code against people who want to go out in a free market place and buy that health care of their choosing. This does that, this lowers costs, creates competition, and allows choices.

"And the most important thing that this thing does is it takes power out of Washington," he explained, "it takes power out of the bureaucracy and put its back to doctors and patients where it belongs."

When asked if they would have the necessary votes to pass the bill, Ryan very confidently predicted they would. "We will have 218 votes," he said without pause. "This is the beginning of the legislative process, we got a few weeks. We'll have 218 when this thing gets to the floor, I can guarantee you that.

Republicans released the text of the "American Health Care Act" Monday to immediate criticism from conservative Republicans who called it "Obamacare lite." This prompted Charles Krauthammer to opine that if they defeated the bill because it wasn't conservative enough that it could threaten, and even "destroy" Trump's presidency.

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