Paul Ryan: Popular parts of Obamacare too costly to keep, alternatives needed


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says in a new interview that it would be too costly for Republicans to reinstate some of the more popular provisions of Obamacare if and when the law is repealed, but that Republicans should look for alternatives.

The former GOP vice presidential nominee was asked on Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt" about whether Republicans would keep provisions like requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions, keeping kids on their parents' insurance until they are 26 years old and barring insurance companies from having different rates for those whose jobs include physical labor.

The first two provisions are among the most popular parts of Obamacare, which as a whole is not popular. But Ryan says such provisions would also drive up the cost of insurance too much.

"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 said, according to an advance transcript. "You dramatically crank up the cost. And you make it hard for people to get affordable health care."

Ryan added that Congress should look at different and more cost-effective ways to accomplish the same kinds of goals.

"I think there are better ideas and better reforms for getting at these very serious issues without these kinds of things that needlessly jeopardize the health care for people," Ryan said.

Asked specifically about the provision prohibiting different rates for those engaged in physical labor, Ryan said he would definitely address it.

"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."

Polls show that a strong majority of Americans support things like guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions. Democrats have made the GOP's move to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act — including the popular portions — a centerpiece of their 2014 election strategy.

Ryan's full interview with Hunt will air Friday at 9 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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