Last week, I co-hosted Carlos Watson’s morning news program on MSNBC. In an interview with Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman was combativeas he wrongly dismissed Democratic proposals for healthcare reform as”the government taking it over.” Ryan claimed he wants to get”everybody insured” and that his Patient’s Choice Act would dojust that–giving people “the ability…to have a plan just like theone we have here in Congress.”
It appears, however, that Ryan is just another conservative cog in whatNew York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls “a wall of misinformation.”
Just check out the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) newscathing report entitled Coburn-Ryan Health Bill Would Jeopardize Coverage for Many, While Failing To Reduce the Number of Uninsured Significantly. Here’s just some of the damage this bill would do:
•fails to make coverage affordable for many low-income peoplewhile also eliminating Medicaid coverage for low-income children,parents, and seniors, pushing tens of millions of vulnerable people intothe private insurance market
•would cause employers to drop coverage while failing to provideviable alternatives for people who lose that coverage
•allows insurers selling coverage through (optional) exchangesto charge higher premiums for sicker people and exclude coverage forpre-existing conditions for one year
•prohibits exchanges from placing any limit on premiums andcost-sharing amounts
•doesn’t set meaningful minimum standards on benefits, or limitdeductibles or out-of-pocket costs
•lack of market reforms means that tax credit and low-incomesubsidy “would almost certainly be insufficient to enable many peoplewho are older, in poorer health, or have special health care needs topurchase affordable coverage”
•low-income people could exhaust subsidy just to pay premiums
•low-income seniors eligible for both Medicaid and Medicarewould face substantially higher costs because Medicaid would no longerpay their Medicare premiums and cost-sharing
The CBPP writes, “Overall, the proposal is not likely to do much toreduce the ranks of the uninsured and would make matters worse for manypeople who currently have coverage.”
This might be a case of the health insurance industry getting what itpays for. The Center for Responsive Politics data indicates that theinsurance industry is Ryan’s top corporate campaign and PAC contributor:he received over $492,000 since he first ran in 1998, including over $210,000 in the 2007-08 and 2009-10 cycles.
Ryan is hailed–like Eric Cantor–by the right-wing as a rising star in the GOP. It seems, however,that when all is said and done he offers only more of the same: a wholelot of talking points that mask cruel outcomes for millions of people inhis state and across the nation. Ryan and his conservative colleagueswill be out peddling this misinformation during the August recess–fight back.