Paul Waldman argues that the GOP faces a potential bloodbath in 2018 whether they pass Trumpcare or not. If they don't, their voters will penalize them for failing to replace Obamacare. But if they do pass it, the projected effects are going to come down hard on their own voters and could possibly cause the collapse of the private health insurance market, triggering a different basis for punishment. Both halves of that argument make sense, except that many provisions of Trumpcare would not go into effect immediately. The voters are unlikely to see the full effect of the law before November 2018. So while the bloodbath for not repealing and replacing might come in 2018, the bloodbath for imposing a really shit health insurance law probably won't fully be realized until 2020 or later.
Given that choice, it makes sense for Ryan to go with the option that delays the bloodbath for at least two years. When they kick the can down the road, there is always the chance that they will find a way to either fix the problem or blame it on someone else.