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News & Press: Government Affairs News

Speaker of the House Will Not Run for Reelection

Wednesday, April 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bradley Coffey, MA, AAOE Government Affairs
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Washington, DC - Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) announced this week that he will not seek reelection in November 2018. The Speaker noted that the reason driving this decision was a desire to spend more time with his family. He will serve out the remainder of his term through January.

Why it Matters: House Republicans are facing a wave of uncertainty heading into this year's elections and are expected to lose their majority in that chamber. Ryan is likely making the decision to leave on his own terms rather than be forced out of his leadership position by an unhappy minority party (there's still a long way to the elections and electoral odds may change to be more favorable to Republican majorities but current polling indicates that a major change in Republican governance in Washington is needed to secure their majorities).

What this Means for Healthcare: Speaker Ryan was one of the first Republican Members of Congress to propose a replacement for the Affordable Care Act and he was ultimately the one who shepherded the Republican healthcare plan through the 2016 elections. The Speaker has been supportive of many healthcare issues in the past and was frequently able to unite warring factions of the Republican majority when it came to healthcare legislation. No other member of the Republican caucus can match Ryan in popularity which may make legislating difficult for his successor [likely Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) or Steve Scalise (R-LA)] if Republicans do hold their majority in the House. 

Ryan's retirement may also forestall his plans to drastically change the Medicare program into a voucher program similar to Medicare Advantage. This plan is popular among conservatives as they see it as a way to reduce costs but could lead to a greater administrative burden on practices that care for older Americans.

What's Next?: The Speaker has indicated that he plans to stay on as Speaker of the House until January however, Politico reports that a faction of the GOP majority want Ryan to step down to allow someone else to lead the party through the midterms. Axios was even more apocalyptic quoting a senior member of the House Republican Caucus as stating: "he will be gone by the end of July".

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