June 11, 2009

Ryan responds to Obama: The false choice

President Obama delivered a major address on health care reform in Green Bay today. Here is Rep. Paul Ryan's reaction:

The False Choice versus The Patients’ Choice
I applaud President Obama for bringing national attention to two things I’m passionate about: health care reform and Wisconsin. I am eager to work with the President and Democrats toward a bipartisan solution to health care. However, the Majority has chosen to exclude such collaboration. After reviewing the President’s remarks in Green Bay today, I have one basic observation to make: the difference between the President’s rhetoric and the substance of his plans is nothing short of astounding. In fact, non-partisan experts continue to claim that the President’s “public plan option” will cause as much as 120 million of Americans to lose the health insurance they already have and like. This makes it difficult to keep the insurance they like, underscoring the growing divide between the President’s promises and his policies.

The President reiterated a false choice that is damaging the open, honest health care debate that we deserve. The President frames the debate as: The government must take over the management of health care OR continue with the failed status-quo of today. He continues to challenge his critics by asking, “What is the alternative?” He knows that there are alternatives – better alternatives where the patient, not the government, is at the center of health care in America. He knows that we have introduced the Patients’ Choice Act of 2009. He knows this, and is simply hoping that the American people don’t know it. It should be noted that Democrats haven’t yet introduced a bill – we have. The Patients’ Choice Act is a real proposal with actual legislative text, demonstrating that we can have universal health insurance in this country without the government taking it over.

Another favorite refrain of the President is that entitlement reform is health care reform. With health security threatened by the unsustainable growth of Medicare and Medicaid, serious reform of these programs is no longer an option. Last year, I introduced comprehensive reforms of both programs, and yet again – nothing but rhetoric from Washington. What’s worse, the Administration’s current strategy to fixing our entitlement crisis is to add yet another entitlement program to an already unsustainable fiscal future. You can't create new government entitlements, impose trillions of dollars of new taxes, and call this cost containment. We already spend over two-and-a-half times any other country on health care. The problem is not that we don't spend enough money, but that we don't spend it efficiently or effectively.

The President highlighted innovative reforms in Wisconsin by providers and patients alike, and used these market-driven reforms to argue that the federal government should take it from there. It takes an uncomfortable faith in Washington to believe that bureaucratic waste will be replaced by innovation and efficiency if only we gave government more control. Again, there is a better path forward on health care reform, and pretending there are not alternatives is a weak argument against our proposals.

What is at stake in this health care debate is nothing short of our definition of America. The outcome of this debate will reshape, in deep and enduring ways, our nation's historic sensibilities. Will we reaffirm our first principles where the government is purposefully limited and the individual is purposefully empowered, or will we sacrifice liberty with a sense of passive security and dependence? Do we want to follow the stagnant European welfare state model, or do believe that there is something unique about our founding, something unique about America that still endures today?

President Obama made the case today in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for a government-centric approach to reforming an issue of tremendous economic and personal importance for all Americans. We will continue to make the case for an approach where patients and doctors are the nucleus of health care in America. We will continue to make the case for health care reform rooted in faith in the individual. We stand ready to engage in a serious health care debate, and are hopeful President Obama and Congressional leaders in Washington are willing to give the American people a health care debate they deserve.


  1. If he was so interested, he would have brought it up before today.

  2. Do you ever listen to Ryan? Besides Palin, he is the only politician in this country that is a breath of fresh air. This government run health care will be an absolute disaster for us in this country.

  3. Ryan and Palin.......that says it all.

  4. Paul Ryan certainly likes to talk, well at least to newspapers and national media anyway.

    If he is such a leader on health care reform, why doesn't he hold a public town hall meeting and propose his plan and take questions from the audience?

  5. Anonymous - He does hold public sessions and takes questions for people that are present. Maybe you should get out from behind your computer and attend one and give your opinion.

  6. Paul Ryan has not held one single town hall meeting on health care since announcing his alternate proposal, yet he wants to blast the President? How does that work?

    Seriously, the guy is using words like "What is at stake in this health care debate is nothing short of our definition of America."

    If this is so important then put down the microphone and get your rear end down here and make the case to the people.

    This gutless hit and run approach he has on this issue is getting old. At least the President has the guts to have a town hall and take questions.

    Paul Ryan owes it to his constituents to explain his plan and answer public questions. We don't need more newspaper articles and national TV interviews. Enough is enough.

    Stand and deliver - stop running and hiding.

  7. With the "definition of America" on the line, Paul Ryan bravely wrote a letter and called it a day.

    Now that's leadership baby.

    I don't know but if I really felt the definition of America was on the line I would do a little bit more than basically blog about it.

    He should be out here going door to door getting the message out and hold town halls in his district to get the people up to speed on his plans and how they can act. He should allow the public to ask how his plan would impact all of us and address any concerns that we have.

    But then again that would require true leadership. Maybe he couldn't make it out here because his hands were tired from all of the letter writing he has been doing. Maybe his voice was a little horse from all of the national hand selected interviews.

    He doesn't want a debate, because that would involve talking to people and defending his positions....oh no, the man is quite content to write a letter instead. How convenient. Unopposed dictation and no questions answered.

  8. Boy, a bunch of left wing kooks on this board. Government run health care will be an absolute debacle. You people love the destruction of America don't you? You must, because this is the fastest 6 months slide to destruction in it's history.

    Let me ask ALL OF YOU STATISTS this question. When President Bush went around the country talking about and proposing ideas, with all the criticism that came from the left, can you tell me that everyone who criticized his ideas held there own town hall meetings to take questions? Hmmmm? As an example, when he had the very good idea for us to build our own (retirement) social security fund with some of the taxes that we pay out to social security, did everyone who criticized this plan hold town hall meetings and take questions from the audience about this? Hmmmm? You know darn well they did not. But of course, you statists are not consistent with your rhetoric.

  9. Yes, kay,

    Ryan and Palin does say it all. An AWESOME ticket for 2012. Palin/Ryan now that sounds sweeeeet! We need some fresh conservative faces to stop the absolute train wreck we are currently on.

  10. Paul Ryan is a mouthpiece. He tows the party line by simply reiterating his party's arguments, and what you get is not a constructive criticism of the left's actual position, but instead a strawman -- completely out-of-sync with reality -- that he then proceeds to tear down with passionate, non-specific rhetoric.

    What I love the most from the right-wing at the moment is their persistent claim of being left out in the cold on these issues. One of the first things Obama tried to do was include them at the table, and they graciously accepted his invitations while simultaneously bad-mouthing him every chance they got. The administration made pointless concessions to appease and garner support from a party unwilling to genuinely participate. Just like the election, and really the last 8 years, the GOP continues to oversimplify thoughts and positions down to buzz-words, sound bites, and out-of-context statements they attribute to their opponents, some so off-base that they could be called downright lies.

    What's really sad is how self-important Ryan is. I truly think he sees himself as a budding leader of his party. If he wants to be that, an original idea needs to go through that head of his. If he really wants to lead something, he needs to shut the hell up, come up with his own positions on these issues, devise alternatives that meet his own beliefs, and actually work with the majority in attempting to see them through. Complaining in public statements might look good for the die-hards, but it accomplishes very little.