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Ryan Talks Education & Health Care Reform with Kenosha County Residents

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April 28, 2016 | Ian Martorana (202-225-3031) | comments
WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier this week, Wisconsin’s First District Congressman and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke to thousands of Kenosha County residents during a telephone town hall. 

Excerpts of Ryan’s answers to constituents follow:

Health care reform:

“[Obamacare] forces you to buy the government insurance plan which has given us massive premium increases [and] huge deductibles. . . . One of the major problems is it makes you buy the insurance they design, not the insurance you necessarily need or want. And it is done in such a way that it was supposed to drop our health care premiums on average $2,500 a year in premiums and it’s done the opposite. And I would argue the reason is they have taken away all competition. Now we basically have a big insurance monopoly, with government-run, government-mandated health insurance. The law basically turned these insurance companies into public utilities . . . and it has made it really expensive and is making people buy coverage they don’t want, need, or can afford. I would argue we should make these insurers compete against one another for our [business], more competition, and more choice, and let you buy what you want to buy, and subsidize people with pre-existing conditions. Let’s create funds in our states that subsidize the high-cost health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, so that everybody else, which is about 90 percent of our population under the age of 65, can have really affordable, lower-priced, lower-cost health insurance. We are going to offer another plan [and] say to the country, ‘Here is what we want to replace the law with if we get permission at the ballot box.’”

Education reform:

“We did reauthorize Pell Grants. The education savings account is in law, which means you have the ability to save in an IRA for education just like the 529 law, which we passed and prevented the administration from taking over the 529 plans. I think the real issue is tuition inflation itself. This is an area where there is a lot of work to be done. Number one, we need to have more transparency to make education more competitive for the value we get for that education.”

“Combine [inflation] with the fact that the administration nationalized the student loan industry in 2010, so we no longer have competitive student loan products. . . . We used to have banks who were subsidized to give direct lending to students who competed for students’ business for loans, and would customized loans per the student’s ability to pay. I got my student loans at Great Lakes in Madison. I worked three jobs after college to pay my loans. When I went down to two jobs they adjusted my payments; when I went back up to three jobs they adjusted them back up, and the system used to work like that. Now, the Department of Education runs the entire student loan system. We have more and more kids having more debt. The solution to this, to me, is to de-nationalize the student loan industry, make it more competitive, and break up the college monopoly. Let people get credit online; let people take credit from high school; let people go to a two-year technical college or a two-year in the UW system and [take] that in.”
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