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Paul Ryan Offers Amendment to Strike Government-Run Health Care Plan

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Published on Jul 16, 2009

Congressman Paul Ryan (WI-01) offers amendment to strike the government-run plan
House Ways and Means Committee markup of H.R. 3200
July 16, 2009

Let me begin by saying how I agree with something that Mr. Stark said at the beginning of this hearing. He said that this debate is a profound one, and that this vote may possibly be the most important vote ever taken in our service here in Congress. I agree. Its a big issue. Its a big debate.

I have a number of regrets let me list a few. The bill we got less than 48 years ago. The Chairmans mark we got at three minutes to midnight last night. I regret the fact that not a single person that is about to vote on this bill today has read this bill. I also regret the fact that the Congressional Budget Office has just told us that they don't know what it costs. So were about to vote a bill that we havent read and we dont know what it costs.

Whats also been quite amazing in this debate as this year has proceeded is that the rhetoric has been so sweet. The words work really well. The things that have been said about this bill sound so good.
I dont think Ive ever seen an issue where the rhetoric so clearly contradicts the substance of this legislation. No one that makes under $250,000 will be taxed at all. Ha! Theres a bunch of taxes in here for everybody. If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it. Well thats what this amendment is all about.

This amendment is very simple. It strikes the public plan. It says no government-run plan.

Let me explain why its a stacked deck. Let me explain why the public plan is really a case where they are the player and the referee in the same game. Let me explain why it is virtually impossible for a public plan to compete fairly on a level playing field with the private insurance market.

Four big advantages the public plan has:

1.The public plan doesnt pay taxes and the private competitors do.
2.The public plan doesnt have to have large capital reserves, the private competitors do.
3.The public plan doesnt have to account for its payroll and benefit costs of its employees, the private sector does.
4.The public plan gets to dictate the prices it will pay for services, and clearly the private plans do not.

A reputable actuarial firm tells us that in three years 122 million people will get pushed off of their private health insurance. Two out of every three Americans will lose what they have and get pushed onto the public plan because of all of these factors because of the cost-shifting occurs. If were underpaying hospitals by 30% with Medicare and underpaying doctors by 20% with Medicare - where are they going to make up that difference? Studies show that a combined family of four will have higher premiums of $3620 right now because of Medicare and Medicaid underpayment. And so were going to exacerbate that underpayment.

Let me read a quick line from an editorial today from Investors Business Daily: The public option won't be an option for many, but rather a mandate for buying government care. A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny.

Pretty harsh words. These are words I think that are appropriate for this moment.

Why dont we say: Lets make private health insurance work? Why dont we work together to make it affordable for everybody? Why dont we pass legislation to address the problems we have? Those that dont have health insurance; those with preexisting conditions that cant get insurance; and the fact that health care costs are rising so much.

We could do that together if our agenda was not to have a government take over of health care. With the public plan, no matter what actuarial model you look at, it goes in that direction. In this debate, direction is destiny. The destination of this bill is to have the public plan crowd out the private sector.

I am looking forward to a vibrant debate on this point. But I urge my colleagues to think twice about this moment. Think twice about the moment when you are going to vote for this bill. Think about what your constituents are going to say to you in three or four years when they have lost the health insurance that they have.

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- Ryans amendment to let Americans keep the insurance they like by striking the government-run plan was defeated, 25-15.
- Vote tally http://republicans.waysandmeans.house...
- Amendment text: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house...
- Investors Business Daily Editorial, It's Not An Option, July 16, 2009, http://ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles....

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- Paul Ryans Health Care Reform: A Plan Forward: http://www.house.gov/ryan/healthcare/
- Become a Fan of Paul Ryan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reppaulryan
- Follow Paul Ryan on Twitter: http://twitter.com/reppaulryan
- Watch Paul Ryan on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/reppaulryan

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