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A Cancer Survivor Grilled Paul Ryan on the Obamacare Repeal

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I'm standing here today alive."

by Lauren Messman
Jan 13 2017, 4:13pm

House Speaker Paul Ryan was pressed on a number of different GOP agendas during CNN's televised town hall Thursday night, starting with the Republicans' aggressive push to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"I was a Republican, and I worked for the Reagan and Bush campaigns. Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act," one audience member said. "Then, at 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type of cancer... Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I'm standing here today alive." He added, "Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?"

"We want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time," Ryan said, explaining that Republicans plan to finance statewide high-risk pools to cover people who have preexisting conditions. "We want more choices, lower prices, more competition, no monopolies. That's what we want to replace it with, and that's what we're working on right now."

Ryan later addressed Trump's hardline stance on undocumented immigrants, including the possibility that the president-elect could repeal Obama's executive order that protects undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children. 

"This is not the focus. And so what we have to do is find a way to ensure that you can get right with the law," Ryan told one woman, who asked if she should be deported as someone who's currently protected under DACA. "We have to figure out how to fix this, but to do that, people need to have confidence that our laws are being followed, people know who's coming and going, and we need to have a secure border," assuring her Trump's focus was kicking out violent criminals.

Ryan also finally broke his silence about perhaps the biggest news from Congress last week—that cringeworthy moment when the Wisconsin congressman asked the son of a fellow congressmen if he was sneezing when the kid was actually just throwing up a dab during the swearing-in ceremony. 

"I actually do know what a dab is," he said, before throwing one up on live television. "He wasn't doing a dab, by the way, it looked like he was sneezing." We live inside a meme now. It's not even a good meme. Get used to it.