Rep. Ryan: The American people will be the judge and jury of this law
This Week With George Stephanopoulos, ABC
George Stephanopoulos: What do you make of this criticism and do you agree with it?
Congressman Ryan: Well, I’m very disappointed in the ruling; I think the Chief Justice had to contort logic and reason to come up with this ruling and basically in his summary comments, he basically said the Supreme Court was not going to do this, they are not going to strike it down, we are going to leave it up to the American people. So one man decided against the dissenting opinion, against what I thought were his principles and judicial jurisprudence, he decided to leave this up to the American people so now the stakes of this election could not be higher. So yes I’m very disappointed, but we’re not deterred. We think we can still repeal this law if we win this election and that’s basically what the Chief Justice said: It’s now up to the American people. It’s beyond Congress, the President, and even the Supreme Court. The American people will be the judge and jury of this law come November.
George Stephanopoulos: Governor Romney has said in the past that John Roberts is a model for the kind of justice he would appoint to the court. Does that still hold?
Congressman Ryan: Well I don’t agree with his ruling, I agree with the dissenting judges. I think they basically had to rewrite this statute in order to call this a tax. He did have some good principles, which is the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, meaning there is a limit to what Congress can do to affect people’s behavior. But, if you call it a tax, you can tax anybody to do anything you want from government apparently. That to me is a disturbing ruling, that to me is rewriting this law, and that means they just punted it to the American people and they will have the final say-so this fall. We will repeal this law if we win this election.
George Stephanopoulos: It is in the campaign right now, Governor Romney continued that campaign for repeal right after the decision and I’m going to show a bit of that. You know several independent fact-checkers have taken a look at that claim – the $500 billion in Medicare cuts – and said it’s misleading. And in fact, by that accounting, your own budget, which Governor Romney has endorsed, would also have $500 billion in Medicare cuts.
Congressman Ryan: Well, our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency. What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. I mean I’ve heard for years how much people don’t like the idea that we’re raiding Social Security to pay for other government programs; what Obamacare does for the first time in history is it raids Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In addition, it puts this new board of 15 people in charge of putting price controls on Medicare which we think will end up rationing Medicare in ways that will deny care to seniors. Not only do we think this law is bad for Medicare, it’s bad for healthcare, it’s terrible for the economy and will move us closer to a debt crisis.
George Stephanopoulos: Correct me if I’m wrong, I thought your Medicare savings were put towards deficit and debt reduction.
Congressman Ryan: Which extends the solvency of the Medicare. What they do in Obamacare is they try to count this dollar twice: they claim that this helps Medicare’s solvency and at the same time, they spend this money on creating Obamacare. If you look at the appendix of the Trustees Report for Medicare, they say the same thing: you can’t count these dollars twice. In our budget, we make sure that all these dollars from Medicare savings go towards extending the solvency of Medicare and don’t go towards spending new money on Obamcare – so we don’t raid Medicare for Obamacare, we repeal Obamacare and extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund in our budget.
George Stephanopoulos: So you reject the charge that this could open you up to the charge of hypocrisy?
Congressman Ryan: Look at the hypocrisy: the President on your show said that this is not a tax; then he sent his Solicitor General to the Supreme Court to argue this is a tax in order to get this passed the Supreme Court. The broken promises and hypocrisies are becoming breath-taking from the President who says one thing to get this passed Congress and another thing to get this passed the Supreme Court. I was here fighting this bill in the last session of Congress. Believe me, if this was brought to the public as a tax, there’s no way this law would have passed into law in the first place. That’s what is so frustrating and disappointing with this law.
George Stephanopoulos: I think you may be right about that. You also heard Jack Lew and Vicki Kennedy talk about the provisions in the law, some of which are already in place and are popular with the American people, see what’s up on the White House’s website: you can’t deny coverage due to preexisting conditions, you can’t charge women more than men, you can’t place a lifetime dollar limit on care, you must cover young adults under the age of 26 on a parent’s plan. I know the House is scheduled to have a repeal vote a little later this month. When you do that will you also vote to preserve any of these provisions or does everything go?
Congressman Ryan: We will vote to repeal the entire law on, I believe, July 11th. What’s frustrating about this is when Obamacare was being deliberated, we were offering patient-centered solutions. I’ll just say this: we can have a health care system in America where everybody has affordable access to health insurance, including people with pre-existing conditions, without a government takeover. Those are the kinds of patient centered solutions we’re going to be advancing. We were proposing them then; we’re proposing them now, so we can address these very legitimate concerns without a complete government takeover of 17% of our economy.
George Stephanopoulos: To be specific, those provisions that are already in place now, like closing the donut hole, covering young adults under the age of 26, not placing lifetime limits on care, those are all going to go in the House vote? You’re not going to vote to replace them?
Congressman Ryan: We’re going to repeal the entire law and then we’re going to advance patient-centered reforms which address these kinds of issues. By the way, the market was already moving on say the 26 year old issue, and insurance companies were already announcing they will be keeping this in place anyway. If you allow the market to work to appeal to consumers…
If you take a look at many of the comprehensive plans many of us have authored, it does address these things. What I’m trying to tell you, George, is we can address these legitimate problems and needs without a government takeover. I think at the end of the day, this is a big philosophy difference.
What Mrs. Kennedy and others were saying is this is a new government granted right. We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours; those come from nature and God according to the Declaration of Independence, a huge difference in philosophy. What we’re saying is, there are principles and reforms that we could have passed into law, which we still want to, that address these legitimate problems without putting the government in such a central role in our lives and our economy, which we think it’s going to hurt our economy, bring us toward a debt crisis, and make the American health care system that much worse.
George Stephanopoulos: Finally, I asked Jack Lew this, will this election turn on healthcare?
Congressman Ryan: Health care and the economy. This is the most important election in our lifetimes. This ruling and I guess this was John Roberts’ thinking. He raised the stakes of this election higher than it could have been raised. This election is a choice of two futures: do you want a government-centered society in a government-driven economy and government-rationed health care, or do you want the American opportunity society with a safety net – a free economy, economic freedom, personal liberty –that’s what we want, that’s the American Idea. We have one more chance as a people to get this back and that chance is coming up on November 6th.
George Stephanopoulos: Big choice ahead. Congressman Ryan, thank you very much for your time this morning.