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Ryan Opposes Working With Democrats On Health Care

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After failing to win enough votes in his own party to effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said he doesn't want President Donald Trump to work with Democrats to fix problems with the nation's health care law.

"I don't want that to happen," Ryan said in an interview with CBS News. Working with Democrats to strengthen the ACA would be "hardly a conservative thing," he added.

"I don’t want government running health care. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your health care," Ryan said.

Rather, Ryan said he plans to tweak the legislation Republicans failed to pass and try again to put the bill up for a vote.

"About 90 percent of our members are for this bill and we're not going to give up after seven years of dealing with this, after running on a plan all of last year and translating that plan into legislation," Ryan said. "Plan B is we keep talking to each other and figure out how we get to 'yes' and how we get this bill passed."

Ryan admitted that Republicans are going through a "very painful growing pain," but he still plans on working to replace the Affordable Care Act with a more GOP-friendly alternative, which has been a top priority of Ryan's for several years.

Several members of the Senate Democratic Caucus signed a letter to Trump that said they'd be willing to work with him to fix problems in the Affordable Care Act, as long as those fixes don't decimate the main tenets of the legislation and cut off coverage to millions of people.

"Members of the Democratic caucus remain ready and willing to work with you on policies that would improve the stability of the individual insurance market," the senators wrote in the letter to Trump, according to The Washington Post. "We ask that you begin the work of improving health care for millions of Americans by rescinding your January 20th executive order."

The letter continues: "Your administration must commit to putting an end to all efforts to unravel the ACA, undermine the health care system, increase costs, or hurt patients, providers and families."

The Democrats' gesture to Trump after Republicans failed to rally behind him has Ryan worried that the president will lean towards the other side of the aisle.

"This is a can-do president, who’s a business guy, who wants to get things done, and I know that he wants to get things done with a Republican Congress, but if this Republican Congress allows the perfect to be the enemy of the good, I worry we’ll push the president into, um, working with the Democrats; he’s suggested as much," Ryan said.

Although Trump was unable to push through a Republican-backed health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, he remains optimistic that both parties will come to a consensus because he believes Obamacare will soon "explode."

"I think it's going to happen because we've all been promising -- Democrat, Republican -- we've all been promising that to the American people," Trump said of a change in the health care system, according to Reuters.

Sources: CBS News, Reuters, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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