House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act,...
J. Scott Applewhite

Ryan is eager to share credit (and blame) for GOP health care bill

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” The point, obviously, is that when something goes right, many want to take credit, and when something goes wrong, many try to avoid blame. But what if failure can have many fathers, too?

The Republican health care plan is obviously struggling – opposition from within the GOP is, by every available metric, growing – and the discussion about who’s responsible for this fiasco is getting louder. With that in mind, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who unveiled the American Health Care Act just last week, talked to Fox Business this morning, where the Republican leader seemed eager to share credit/blame for his bill.
“Obviously, the major components [of the existing legislation] are staying intact, because this is something we wrote with President Trump. This is something we wrote with the Senate committees. So just so you know, Maria, this is the plan we ran on all of last year. This is the plan we’ve been working – House, Senate, White House – together on.”
In context, the Speaker was trying to argue against overhauling the legislation, emphasizing that the current bill is already the result of a joint effort between Republicans and other Republicans.

But let’s not miss the forest for the trees: Ryan is acutely aware of the fact that if/when this bill fails, the fingers will be pointed directly at him. It’s why the Wisconsin congressman is preemptively trying to spread the blame around – as if this weren’t the bill he and his team wrote in secret.

As for the idea that Republicans “all” ran on this legislation in 2016, this is plainly silly. Last June, Ryan unveiled what he described as his “Better Way” agenda, including an outline of some of his health care goals. Sure, the document existed, but it wasn’t legislation; it included no substantive details; he released no real data that could be scrutinized; and the outline amounted to “37 pages of talking points.”

Ryan’s reference to the election is apparently an attempt to claim a mandate, as if Americans consciously and deliberately endorsed the Republican health care plan that’s pending in Congress. It’s hard to imagine even the Speaker believing such a claim.

Donald Trump, Health Care and Paul Ryan

Ryan is eager to share credit (and blame) for GOP health care bill