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Ryan Discusses Health Care and Tax Reform with Rock and Walworth County Residents

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April 26, 2017 | Ian Martorana (202-225-3031) | comments

Yesterday, Wisconsin’s First District congressman and speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, spoke to thousands of Rock and Walworth County residents during a telephone town hall meeting.

Excerpts of Ryan’s answers to constituents follow:

On health care reform:

“What’s happened here with [Obamacare], in the last few years, is fewer and fewer people who consider themselves healthy are buying the insurance, so the bulk of the people that are left are people that have to have insurance because they have health care costs, health care problems, issues, and that is cranking up the [cost] of health care. They call it a death spiral . . . which means sicker people are joining the pool and fewer healthier people are buying it because the prices are getting so high. And therefore the pool is getting more and more expensive and they are having to raise premiums and prices, and it’s basically kind of collapsing.”

“So what’s happening is health insurance companies are pulling out of the marketplace. That is a serious problem. And so our approach says: Don’t force the younger healthier person to pay a lot more to cross subsidize the sicker person, because there obviously they are not doing that. Let’s have risk pools instead.”

“So if we subsidize the cost of care to that one to five percent of the people in this marketplace, [what] you end up doing is dramatically lowering the cost of care for everybody else, because the insurance doesn’t have to guard against that potential catastrophic cost. And that lets everybody else get cheaper premiums. It [gives] the younger healthier person, who we want to buy into the insurance pool, the ability it buy at a price they can afford. What we’re trying to do is get more competition, more choices, and more insurers into the marketplace.”

On tax reform:

So Alice, in her small business in Wisconsin, pays taxes on her business on the individual level, not like a corporation pays at the corporate level. So, think Harley Davidson—that’s a corporation, so they pay a corporate tax. That tax rate is 35 percent. Alice, with her business, pays the individual tax rate. The top rate, now, is 44.6 percent. And nine out of ten Wisconsin businesses are like that—they don’t necessarily pay 44.6 percent, but they pay the individual tax rate. The ones that are successful, that have 20 to 200 employees, like the businesses that are in our industrial parks and towns all pay taxes like that. So what we’re working on getting those tax rates on small businesses down.”

“For individuals, we propose a dramatic simplification of the tax code. Keep deductions for things like mortgages and charities, but get rid of the other deductions and increase the standard deduction so that people have a bigger standard deduction for families, for kids, for filing as a single person or couple. And by doing that, we can fill out our taxes on a postcard.”

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“Let’s just take Johnson Controls, a company that we all kind of know. It’s a company up in Milwaukee. Johnson Controls buys a foreign company like Tyco in Ireland, and then Johnson Controls becomes an Irish company. Now, Ireland has a 12.5 percent tax rate on businesses, not a 35 percent tax rate. And so, they basically repatriated and became a foreign company. What they’re doing is they’re either getting bought by a foreign company or they are buying a foreign company and then moving their headquarters to that foreign country. They are paying that foreign country tax which is a lower tax rate. We need to remove the incentive that tells a company: You should move overseas, you should move your product overseas.”

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