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Paul Ryan: GOP health-care bill is 'closest we will ever get' to repealing Obamacare

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) explains the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act during his weekly news conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. During his remarks, Ryan said, "We made a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now it's time to do it." (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that the House Republicans' Obamacare repeal and replacement bill — the American Health Care Act — is the only avenue available for getting rid of former President Barack Obama's signature legislation, according to Politico.

“This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare," Ryan said, after a 20-minute slideshow presentation about the GOP's repeal and replace bill, Politico reported.

"This is the moment, and this is closest it will ever happen," he said. "“It really comes down to a binary choice.”

Paul said that the House GOP bill is specifically designed to be able to both pass through a closely divided Senate and follow the rules of congressional budget reconciliation.

Through a procedure known as reconciliation, Republicans can secure Senate passage of the bill with a simple majority, rather than the typical 60-vote threshold most major legislation must clear.

But reconciliation rules sharply restrict the provisions that Republicans might otherwise include when revamping the health care system.

The point of the presentation was to address skepticism of the bill voiced by many conservative and libertarian politicians and pundits.

The AHCA has competition from the right. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have both introduced a conservative version of Obamacare repeal in their respective chambers. The bills focus solely on repealing the law and not replacing it.

With this alternative also up for consideration, Ryan's claim of a "binary choice" has angered the likes of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who took to Twitter to call Ryan's claim a "fallacy" and a "tool partisans on both sides use to quash policy debate."

Ryan, however, holds that a simple repeal will result in "triple premium increases" that will crash the market.

"If we just repeal Obamacare, it's not like life in the world goes back to life before Obamacare," Ryan said. "Obamacare did so much damage to the U.S. health insurance system that it's not as if you can go back to the day before."

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