Yesterday, Wisconsin’s First District congressman and speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, spoke to thousands of Racine County residents during a telephone town hall meeting.
Excerpts of Ryan’s answers to constituents follow:
On health care reform:
“Obamacare was supposed to lower the cost of health insurance and make it more available for people. It’s done the opposite. Instead of lowering the price of insurance, the cost of insurance since the law took place has more than doubled. And . . . the insurers are leaving the market because the system is collapsing. It’s not working because what the law basically tried to do is force people to buy a health insurance plan they didn’t like, didn’t want, or couldn’t afford. And this is all for people in the individual market. The individual market are people who don’t get health insurance from their job or don’t have Medicare or Medicaid. So that’s a person who goes out and buys their own insurance by themselves.”
“We’re saying: Let people buy the kind of insurance they want to buy. . . . In the bill we passed in the House, we will give everybody in the individual market who has to buy their own health insurance a refundable tax credit—a voucher, money—regardless of whether you pay taxes or not, to go buy a health insurance plan. But you buy a plan of your choosing. And if you buy a plan that has a deductible—most plans do—you can save tax-free in health savings accounts for that out of deductible expense.”
“But the thing I think matters most in our bill is . . . we fund the cost of care for people with catastrophic illnesses. My dad died when I was a kid and my mom and I just lived together and my grandma got real sick with Alzheimer’s and she moved in with us and my mom and I were caretakers. That’s one of the values and lessons that I learned directly growing up is my life and my family in Janesville. This is one of the reasons why I am a passionate believer in having financing for high risk pools.”
“By having high-risk pools cover the cost of your insurance, two things happen: you’re going to get the care you need when you need it without going bankrupt, and then because the insurance kicks in to cover you and your illness and anyone else in your category, then the insurance pools for everyone else does not have to cover those costs and it’s therefore much more affordable for everybody else to have insurance.”
“I’m on Obamacare because we made sure when [it] passed we would put ourselves on Obamacare as well. . . . If we’re going to write the laws we got to live under the laws we write. And I absolutely believe that. You’re not a citizen legislator unless you do that.”