How serious is Paul Ryan's new budget when it calls for repealing 'Obamacare'?

Ryan told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace that he wants to replace the president's Affordable Care Act with "patient centered healthcare," which he didn't define very clearly, but did say it would amount to "affordable health insurance for everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions without a costly government takeover which is what Obamacare represents. Yes, our budget does promote repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a better system."

Ryan's last budget plan that included revamping Medicare for people 55 and under was the source of huge criticism by Democrats during the last presidential campaign, who called it dismantling Medicare as we know it. Ryan has said he's actually preserving the federal healthcare system for the elderly, though.

But when asked about the criticism that Ryan's "Premium Support" plan invoked was that it would force seniors on Medicare to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for their healthcare, Ryan disputed that, saying his system would not give out vouchers, but actually make it similar to what he and other federal employees enjoy right now. "Total subsidy for the poor and the sick," he said of his plan, "less of a subsidy for wealthy seniors."

"This guarantees that Medicare does not change for people in or near retirement, and it also guarantees for those of us under 55 that we actually have a Medicare program for when we retire," he maintained, adding that Obamacare does "so much damage to Medicare that it's going to damage the program for current seniors."

It's becoming apparent that even though it seemed like the Affordable Care Act (or 'Obamacare') was the accepted law of the land after both Supreme Court Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote for the law last summer, and the American people re-elected Obama last fall (Mitt Romney said he would have repealed the bill if he was elected), many Republicans disagree.

But does it make sense to propose legislation that would only become law if the president were to veto his signature domestic achievement? It leads one to question how serious Ryan is, or Marco Rubio for that matter, who announced late last week that he would demand that a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year include provisions to defund Obamacare in its entirety.

That mentality is also espoused in Tallahassee, where it's currently assumed by Florida political observers to be a done deal that Medicaid expansion is dead on arrival due to a House committee voting down the proposal last week, and Speaker Will Weatherford's oft-stated opposition.

Apparently Florida Senate President's Don Gaetz comment that Obamacare is "the law of the land," isn't a widely shared belief in GOP circles, though it in fact is the law of the land, and will be until possibly a Republican is controlling the White House - four years from now.

  • Paul Ryan

Count me among those who think it's a positive thing that President Obama reached out to Congressional Republicans over the past week. One of the biggest criticisms of the president that has never successfully been rebutted by the White House is his lack of outreach with members of both parties on Capitol Hill. Of course his personality is different than an LBJ or Bill Clinton, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't try harder to communicate with Congress.

But then again, does it really matter that Obama sat down for lunch with Paul Ryan last Thursday (along with House Democrat Chris Van Holland) when Ryan's new budget about to be unveiled calls for balancing the budget in the next 10 years by defunding Obamacare.

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