House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hasn’t lost his grip on reality, he revealed Monday during an interview with conservative radio host Jay Weber.
Ryan admitted that a victory by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would mark the end of his quixotic quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That may seem like an obvious conclusion, but it qualifies as a noteworthy statement because it’s coming from the man who oversaw dozens of hopeless votes to overturn the 6-year-old health care law.
During the discussion on WISN, Weber laid out a series of “hard truths” with respect to the stakes in the presidential and congressional elections if Republicans fail to win the White House and lose the Senate, including Democrats being able to confirm Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees.
Here’s Weber and Ryan discussing the Affordable Care Act:
Weber: Obamacare doesn’t get repealed, likely ever, if Hillary wins. Doesn’t get repealed. Agree?
Ryan: Yes. Yes, I do agree. Hillary’s talking about a public option, which is basically double-down on government-run health care. That’s the opposite of what we’re offering. We actually have a plan to replace Obamacare. All of us have basically gotten to consensus on what our plan is, but we have to win an election to put it in place.
Leaving aside Ryan’s exaggeration of the comprehensiveness of the House Republican Obamacare “replacement” plan ― like how many millions fewer people would have health coverage under it ― it seems that three consecutive terms of a Democrat in the White House would be enough for the speaker to recognize that he’s not going to get a Democrat to sign legislation undoing the the social safety net’s biggest expansion in decades.
Clinton has, in fact, proposed a slate of policies that would build on the Affordable Care Act, including creating a public option plan that would compete with private insurers. Her Republican rival, Donald Trump, favors repealing the law and replacing it with something roughly similar to Ryan’s plan, which would result in about 20 million people becoming uninsured.
Of course, if Ryan adopts a stop-tilting-at-windmills strategy on Obamacare next year, that may not go over well with House Republicans overall, who already are ruminating about whether to repeal and replace Ryan’s speakership.
Listen to Ryan’s entire interview here: