House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted on Friday that Republicans would not be able to preserve the most popular elements of Obamacare if they repeal the law as a whole. Ryan’s comments come as House Republicans plan to unveil a replacement bill that will reportedly allow young adults to remain on their parents’ health care plans and provide some level of protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“If you look at these kinds of reforms, where they’ve been tried before — say the state of Kentucky, for example — you basically make it impossible to underwrite insurance,” Ryan told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt when asked if Republicans would maintain the pre-existing conditions regulations, dependent coverage extension, and other rate requirements. “You dramatically crank up the cost. And you make it hard for people to get affordable health care,” Ryan insisted.
The former GOP vice presidential candidate also said that Republicans could offer other alternatives that would expand coverage to people without insurance and lower health care costs. “Yes, and I think there are better ways of dealing with those very serious and legitimate issues without doing it this way, because I think this is the wrong approach.”
In 2009, Ryan offered a joint alternative with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), which would have taxed the full value of employer health benefits and provided refundable tax credits to help families and individuals purchase employer or nongroup coverage. Economists had predicted that equalizing the tax treatment of health care benefits could discourage businesses from offering insurance and lead at least 20 million Americans to lose their employer coverage .
The plan also encouraged states to “establish rational and reasonable consumer protections” by forming State Health Insurance Exchanges. The bill even included “non-profit, independent board” to penalize insurance companies “that cherry pick health patients and reward insurers that cover patients with pre-existing conditions.” It described the board as “a model that works in several European countries.”