After today’s Supreme Court ruling, Rep. Paul Ryan told TMJ4’s Charles Benson: “We think this is bad for Medicare, it restricts choices of health insurance, and we think this is a budget buster. We think it will hurt us in terms of job creation and we think it will take away the kind of innovation and competition we ought to have in health care.”
Charles Benson: Congressman Paul Ryan, thank you very much for joining us. We only have a few minutes here but let me get your reaction – President Obama today calling the Supreme Court decision a victory for America, do you see any wins here for Wisconsin?
Congressman Ryan: I don’t see wins here for Wisconsin. I’m not deterred by this; I’m disappointed by this ruling. It means that the health care law is still in place. It means that the people of Wisconsin and the rest of the country will decide through their elected leaders in this next election whether this law truly stands or not. This law is bad for Medicare; this law is bad for people who have private health insurance because it will raise their premiums. It raises people’s taxes. It’s bad for jobs. I really do believe this law will decrease the quality of health insurance we have in this country.
Charles, we can have affordable access to health insurance, including for people with pre-existing conditions, without the government taking it over. Unfortunately, what the Supreme Court ruled is: you can tax anybody into doing virtually anything if you call it a tax. The President specifically said in selling this law that this was not a tax, it was a mandate. The Supreme Court said if it is a mandate then it’s unconstitutional, but if it’s a tax it’s constitutional and they’re calling it a tax now. I think it’s an unfortunate ruling and I think it’s basically going to have to be determined by who wins the next election determines whether this law truly stands or not.
Charles Benson: What is wrong with requiring people to buy insurance who don’t have it or at this point, can’t afford it? Wouldn’t it be better if everyone does have insurance?
Congressman Ryan: The question is: is there a limiting principle to the federal government? Is there a limit to what the federal government can make you do or not do? And what the ruling does say is they can’t make you do something that you don’t want to do, but if you call it a tax, you can tax somebody into doing something. Here’s the problem with this, Charles. What this law in effect does, is it will make it harder for insurance companies to offer competitive products. Everybody will be forced to have the government mandated kind of insurance. It will encourage employers to dump their people in the government exchange and that will raise costs for the government and explode the deficit. It will restrict quality and choice. And it takes a half a trillion dollars from Medicare to spend on Obamacare, and then it puts a new panel of 15 people in charge of price controlling Medicare in ways that we believe will lead to denied care for current seniors.
We think this is bad for Medicare, it restricts choices of health insurance, and we think this is a budget buster. We think this is going to hurt us in terms of job creation and we think it will take away the kind of innovation and competition that we ought to have in health care. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not rule it out of order, they claimed that it was constitutional and that means this issue is going to have to be basically determined by the next election.
Charles Benson: Republicans have talked about repealing this law. Let me lay out this scenario. The votes are there in the House, it’s unclear if the votes will be in the Senate after the election. There’s a possibility you could be the Vice President. You could be the tie-breaker on this in a scenario where it comes down to one vote. Would you want to be that Vice President? You’re being vetted right now.
Congressman Ryan: That’s a nice way of getting that kind of question into that, Charles. That’s one of the more creative ways of asking that question I’ve seen. That’s pretty good. Look, my view on this is extremely clear: I didn’t vote for this law in the first place, I voted to repeal it already earlier this year, I’ll vote to repeal it on July 11th because I really do believe this law is a job killer. I believe it’s bad for healthcare. I believe it is going to implode and destroy the quality of our current health care system. I believe it’s really bad for Medicare in particular and so I think we have better ideas on how to replace this law so we can fix what is legitimately a problem: access to affordable health care for all Americans. I’ve offered lots of legislation to deals with this. I think there’s a better way to do this without having such a government takeover of health care.
What this effectively does, Charles, is it says the Supreme Court has allowed this effective government takeover of health care and I don’t think that’s what the American people want. I believe this fall, they’re going to have the final say so through their elected representatives in the next election as to whether or not this government takeover of healthcare stands or not.
Charles Benson: Well with about thirty seconds left, are you more inspired by today’s decision to go back to Congress to try to repeal it or maybe move to the executive side to try and have a bigger voice there to repeal it?
Congressman Ryan: Again, nice try on the question. I have more of an incentive to fix this problem by repealing this law and replacing it with true patient-centered health care reform.
Charles Benson: I appreciate your time, Congressman.
Congressman Ryan: You bet, Charles, have a good one.