Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan's Wash. Post Op-Ed on Health Care

This impressive GOP rising star continues to earn the title I conferred on him last month: "The Conservative Antidote to Obama!"

As the health care farce on Capitol Hill enters it's final hours, it's good to hear that common sense, honesty and workable alternatives are still alive in the GOP. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he describes the failures in the current Dem plan and goes on to remind readers that there is a better way. You're encouraged to read the entire op-ed here.

A brief excerpt:

Rep. Paul Ryan on what real health reform should look like

... The debacle of the past year's "debate" has been a missed opportunity for real reform. Democrats and Republicans alike have put forward proposals that address the drivers of health-care costs, yet they have been ignored in this sharply partisan crusade. House Republicans continue to offer common-sense solutions, with specific legislation. Last May, Sens. Tom Coburn and Richard Burr and Rep. Devin Nunes and I collaborated to address rising costs while securing access to quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans. The Patients' Choice Act takes on the discriminatory and inflationary tax exclusion, delinking the tax benefit from employers and attaching it to individuals through universal tax credits. The tax exclusion for employer-provided health coverage subsidizes insurance instead of health care, hides the true cost of coverage and disproportionately favors the wealthy at the expense of the self-employed, the unemployed and small businesses. Health-care economists across the political spectrum and reform-minded Democrats such as Sen. Ron Wyden identify the backward tax treatment of health care as a problem that must be addressed.

The Patients' Choice Act includes additional reforms -- such as an emphasis on preventive care, medical malpractice reform and interstate shopping -- that could be advanced one at a time in a bipartisan fashion to fix what's broken in health care without breaking what is working.

This year I re-introduced my own proposals to tackle our entitlement crisis head-on. My plan, "A Roadmap for America's Future," fulfills the mission of health and retirement security, lifts our crushing burden of debt, and spurs economic growth and job creation. In stark contrast to the vision being pushed by the majority in Congress, my plan unapologetically seeks to apply our nation's timeless principles -- our Founders' commitment to individual liberty, limited government and free enterprise -- to today's challenges. It does so in a way that honors our historic commitment to strengthening the social safety net for those who need it most.

If this debate had actually been about health care, we could have worked together to get a grip on costs, make quality care more accessible, address exclusions for preexisting conditions and realign the incentives of insurance companies with those of patients and doctors. Yet this process -- including its embarrassing conclusion -- demonstrates that the debate has never been about health-care policy but, instead, paternalistic ideology.

Should the Democrats' health-care train wreck make it to the president's desk, it will be a pyrrhic victory, and its devastating consequences will take their toll on our health-care system, our budget and our economy.

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