"Obamacare's an entitlement just like any other entitlement," Ryan said, according to Politico. "If you look at the op-ed, I say we have to - ultimately we have to rethink all of our nation's health care laws."
Head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, came to Ryan's defense. He echoed Ryan's defense and said his op-ed included "OBAMACARE," even though it didn't specifically mention it.
At a weekly meeting of House conservative lawmakers that Ryan regularly attends, he attempted to explain the position he laid out in the Wall Street Journal. But some conservatives still insist that Obamacare be tied to any deal. Ryan dodged reporters after the meeting.
Twenty years ago, Ryan worked for the conservative organization Empower America, which later became FreedomWorks. While that organization successfully morphed from a group that promoted traditional fiscal conservatism and neoconservative foreign policies into a limited government tea party aligned group. Is Paul Ryan an Empower America Republican? Or a FreedomWorks Republican?
There lies Ryan's dilemma. It's the same scenario that is plaguing the Republican Party and also dictating the current debate in Washington.
Republican strategist and former Romney spokesman Ryan Williams his op-ed shows that he's "the adult in the room."
"He felt that it was important for him to speak up to address the seemingly never-ending stalemate that we're witnessing in Washington," Williams added.
But the conservatives intent on stopping the health care law at all political costs aren't interested in ending the stalemate if it doesn't end Obamacare.
Lisa Miller, Founder of the Washington-based Tea Party WDC, said she hopes the government shutdown leads to the chipping away of the health care law.
"Paul Ryan is a numbers guy; I just don't like his numbers," Miller said.
Williams insisted that Ryan has already proven his conservative credentials but his op-ed shows he's a "realist" given the miniscule probability that Republicans have in undoing the health care law.
Given the push back Ryan has received, three years before the presidential election, Ryan might have to decide if he's going to be a "realist" or a modern day, tea party conservative if he aspires to higher political office.