Paul Ryan says he has wanted to reform Medicaid since he was 'drinking at a keg'

House Speaker Paul Ryan holds up a copy of the American Health Care Act during a news conference with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden,  March 7, 2017.
Getty Images
House Speaker Paul Ryan holds up a copy of the American Health Care Act during a news conference with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, March 7, 2017.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told the National Review's Rich Lowry he has been hoping to reform health care for the poor since his frat-party days.

"So Medicaid, sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate, we've been dreaming of this since I've been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg. ... I've been thinking about this stuff for a long time," Ryan said. "We're on the cusp of doing something we've long believed in."

Lowry quipped that "I was thinking about something else [at keg parties]. He was thinking about reforming Medicaid."

Ryan didn't immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

A video of the discussion was posted on YouTube on Friday.

The American Health Care Act, which Republicans rolled out earlier this month to replace Obamacare, would cost 24 million Americans their health insurance by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office found last week. President Donald Trump has endorsed the plan, but nearly 60 Republicans in Congress have said they have "serious concerns" about it.

Ryan, 47, holds a bachelor's degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.