With the Republican leadership's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare drawing fire not only from Democrats, but also from within their own party, House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the American Health Care Act in an op-ed published by USA Today.
"In the weeks ahead, the House will consider this plan through an open and transparent process, including legislation to allow people to purchase healthcare across state lines," Ryan wrote. "As we do, I encourage you to read the bill, so you can see the changes we are proposing."
With the Democrat-passed Affordable Care Act "driving up healthcare costs and driving out choices for American families, the law must be repealed "once and for all," Ryan said.
Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have said the bill does not go far enough in completely repealing Obamacare. But Ryan argued rather than returning to how things were before Obamacare was enacted, it is vital to create a better system that embraces competition and lowers costs for both patients and taxpayers.
"Introduced this week, the American Health Care Act keeps our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare," he said.
The plan intends to give all Americans "quality affordable healthcare," while increasing choices and eliminating mandates to buy government-approved plans, Ryan wrote.
But, he added, those who have benefitted from Obamacare should not have the rug pulled out from under them.
"This also means we will ensure vital protections for patients with pre-existing conditions and allow young adults to stay on their parents' plan," he said, as well as giving states more funding and flexibility to deal with high-risk pools.
"Where Obamacare was built on mandates and coercion that make coverage more expensive, our plan takes care of those in need without driving up costs for everyone else," he said.
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