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Speeches and Floor Statements

Ryan on giving seniors power in Medicare & states flexibility on Medicaid

Fox News Sunday

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March 25, 2012 | comments


Attacking Poverty by Expanding Opportunity:
Is the goal to treat the symptoms of poverty or to attack the root causes of poverty? We’re advancing welfare reform that gets people onto lives of self-sufficiency, that’s why we couple this with job training programs and work requirements.  We think we ought to help get people out of the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, the President’s agenda creates more of a dependent culture, more people stuck in poverty because it denies the idea of upward mobility. This is a critical difference.  We’re working to repair the safety net and help people get back on their feet.

Reforming Medicaid:
Medicaid is already going bankrupt. Medicaid is already a program that so many doctors won’t even take anymore because of its federal rules, regulations and mandates. Let’s block grant Medicaid back to the states. Allow states to customize this benefit to meet the particular needs of their populations. Yes, it will still grow under the reforms we’re talking about, but we will free the states to experiment and customize this benefit to the needs of their population.

Advancing State-Based Solutions:
All the answers don’t lie in Washington. The genius of America does not lie in our bureaucracies in Washington. Government closer to you is government more responsive to you. We believe in the principle of government by consent of the governed. We believe in innovative reforms like welfare reform in 1990s, [Governor] Tommy Thompson was the trailblazer of this in Wisconsin – and we made it very successful. We think we should return responsibility to the states on these issues, so that state government which is closer to the people who are involved with these programs can be held accountable and better customize solutions. It is a diverse country. The problems they have in New York state aren’t exactly the same as we have in Wisconsin. So we shouldn't have all of these rules and regulations that treat us the same with cookie cutter mandates.

Who do you trust on Medicare? 15 unaccountable bureaucrats or 50 million empowered seniors?
Medicare’s growth rate is the same under our plan as it is under the President’s health care law. Here is the key, critical difference: the President’s health care law puts 15 bureaucrats in charge of Medicare. We put 50 million seniors in charge of their Medicare. He is putting these bureaucrats – unelected, unaccountable – in charge of price controlling, which leads to denied care for seniors. We’re saying: get rid of the health care law, stop putting this rationing board in charge of current seniors’ health care, give them the guaranteed benefit they’ve organized their lives around. Don’t change their benefits for anybody in or near retirement. In order to make good on that promise, which is becoming a broken promise under the status quo, you have to reform it for the next generation. There is a bipartisan consensus on how best to reform it, and that’s what we’re advancing. We save and strengthen Medicare. The current law makes it go bankrupt, and puts this board of fifteen bureaucrats in charge of price controlling, which will lead to denied care for current seniors.

The Choice of Two Futures:
Our job in Congress is pretty important. What we believe we owe the country is if we don’t like the direction the President is taking us, which we don’t, we owe them a specific, sharp contrast and a different path they can choose... We’re going to give the country a choice. We’re going to show the country: here’s how to balance the budget, pay off the debt, grow the economy, and stop all of the cronyism in Washington, picking winners and losers; here’s how to get an upwardly mobile society; here’s how to get people back to work instead of being on government dependency. These are the decisions we’re going to have to make.

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