If that's a surprise, you haven't been paying attention. Still, regardless which side you're on, it's hard to disagree with Ryan when he says, “This is not about health care policy. this is about ideology.”
Ryan's statement on the issue, sent out just five minutes after the vote, makes crystal clear how he feels about this bill that provides health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, while providing subsidies for millions more. Here's a summary of the bill's provisions from the Wall St. Journal, which is nobody's Democratic mouthpiece.
We're a long way from making up our minds about the bill, but it's fun to see how firmly Ryan is locked into the opposition. He credits its passage to "Pelosi's arm-twisting" and "political horse-trading" and sees in the bill the replacement of the "American ideal" by a "European-style social welfare state." And he's just getting warmed up.
Decide for yourself about the bill, which still has to go through the Senate. Meanwhile, here's our Congressman, in his own words:
WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan voted against the Democratic Leadership’s massive health care overhaul, which passed the House of Representatives at 11:15 pm on Saturday night. Despite Speaker Pelosi’s arm-twisting enough Democratic votes for final passage, there was a bipartisan coalition opposed to the legislation – the result of mounting evidence that the legislation contradicted its own goals, along with growing concerns with its costly consequences.
While the Majority’s health care overhaul faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Ryan continues his efforts to promote fiscally responsible, patient-centered health care solutions. Prior to the vote on final passage of H.R. 3962, House Republicans offered a simpler and less expensive health care alternative, focusing on reforms that would reduce health care costs by empowering patients and small businesses, encouraging true competition to allow coverage to be purchased across state lines, and curbing the practice of defensive medicine by reigning in junk lawsuits. The Majority rejected this common sense proposal, opting instead for a 2,034 page, $3 trillion overhaul that will ultimately restrict individual choice and increase the cost of coverage.
As a result of last minute political horse-trading, House Leadership was able to secure 220 votes to pass H.R. 3962 late on Saturday night. In advance of tonight’s vote, Ryan delivered the following remarks on the House floor:“I firmly believe that this is the most consequential vote each of us will take in our service here in Congress.
“When you expose this bill’s budget gimmicks, does it increase the debt and deficit? Yes. Will it take coverage away from seniors, raise premiums for families, and decrease health care innovation? Yes. Will it raise taxes on small businesses and workers, and cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs when our unemployment rate is 10.2%? Yes. Does this bill mean the government will take over running our health care system? Yes.As the House Leadership muscled through its overhaul of 17% of our economy tonight, Congressman Ryan raised a number of substantive concerns with the legislation:
“But what is worse is this bill replaces the American Idea with a European-style social welfare state. This bill – more than any other decision we are going to make in this body – will lead to millions of Americans becoming dependents on the state rather than being dependent upon themselves. This is not about health care policy – if it were, we could pass a bipartisan bill to fix what’s broken in health care without breaking what’s working in health care. This is about ideology.
“The choice is not whether or not you’re going to stick with your party leaders. The choice here is what side of history do you want to be on? Will you be on the side of history where you stick with the people and the principles that built this exceptional nation? That is the choice we face.”
A Government Takeover of Health Care – Rather than address the current health care market distortions imposed by flawed government policies, H.R. 3962 would expand Washington’s heavy hand and exacerbate what’s broken in health care. Specifically, the legislation proposes:
- One-Size Fits All Health Care. The bill’s rating restrictions, coverage mandates, and benefit requirements will halt innovation and drive individualized health products out of the market. The bill disqualifies Health Savings Accounts, which provide more than eight million Americans with access to low-cost coverage. All plans would be subject to approval by a new Health Choices Commissioner, with the authority to penalize any health plan that does not comply with this new federal bureaucracy.
- Government Rationing. In an unprecedented power grab, this bill provides the federal government even greater leverage in deciding which medical treatments are worth paying for and which are not. In an effort to contain costs of its new health care entitlement, a new “Comparative Effectiveness Research” program will inevitably impose government control over physicians’ medical decisions, and cause private-sector insurers to limit coverage in line with the government’s choices.
- Price Setting. While the legislation suggests providers will be able to negotiate rates with the government, there is nothing to prevent this from becoming a take-it-or-leave-it, price-setting system. Put simply, prices will be dictated to health care providers at rates determined by the federal government.
- $3 Trillion Ten-year Price Tag. Proponents continue to tout a massive budget gimmick, using 10 years of revenues but only seven years of cost. Even with this timing trick, the CBO’s score of H.R. 3962 remains in excess of $1 trillion. Once the spending is fully phased in after 2014, its true cost exceeds $3 trillion over ten years.
- Driving States Deeper Into the Red. Rather than make quality health coverage more affordable, H.R. 3962 attempts to cover the uninsured by adding them to ever expansive government-run programs. The dramatic expansion of Medicaid would force cash-strapped States to spend an additional $34 billion over the next 10 years – on top of the already unsustainable Medicaid burdens States already face.
- $279 Billion Doc Fix Shell Game – In a final-hour political deal, the Majority sought to gain credit for a Medicare reimbursement increase doctors want (the so-called “doc fix”), while hiding its $279 billion cost. This quarter-trillion dollar budget gimmick is a fiscally reckless stunt: Democrats will claim support for the doctors’ payment hike as part of their overall health care plan, but at the same time pretend its cost is a separate matter.
- A total of $460.5 billion in job-killing surtaxes on small businesses;
- Another $135 billion in employer mandates, including the “play-or-pay” scheme punishing even small companies that are unable to provide group health insurance;
- An additional $33 billion in individual mandates – including an unprecedented Washington requirement that everyone must buy health insurance or be subject to federal penalties (including jail time).