Obamacare repeal and replace measures are urgent and will come up before tax reform because the law is collapsing so fast, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday.
"The insurance companies need to know what the lay of the land is going to look like in 2018, and if we waited to end Obamacare in the summer, you would have people with zero [exchange] plans left," the Wisconsin Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
However, Ryan said it's been his dream for "a long time" to reform the nation's tax code, as "we had not done tax reform since the year I got my driver's license, so it has been a long time and it's high time we have done it."
When it comes to Obamacare, House Republicans, through their "Better Way" agenda, have agreed that people should be able to stay on their parents' insurance until they reach the age of 26, and with respect to preexisting conditions, "we think the smarter and better policy is to revitalize our risk pools at the state level with federal financing, so I see sort of a cooperation between the federal government and the state government," said Ryan.
"We don't want to have the federal government overregulate all of health insurance," he continued. "It's why we only have one plan left in five states, one plan left in 33 percent of the counties in America. So we do want to go back to state's rights so you can have competition. More plans, more competition, that's a good thing."
There has been a great deal of outcry against repealing Obamacare, but Ryan said only about 4 percent of the population receives subsidies, and of those, they are seeing "massive, massive deductible increases, huge premium increases, and a dwindling list of choices down to one in many cases."
However, people with preexisting conditions are on Obamacare because they have no choice, and they need their coverage because they have serious problems, said Ryan, and "we have to have an answer for that."
Healthy people and the working poor, however, have plans with deductibles that are so high that "it doesn't even feel like they've got insurance in the first place," Ryan said. "It's people who want more choices and more competition and lower prices. That's what we can fix."
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