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Ryan Discusses Health Care and Education with Kenosha County Residents

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May 17, 2017 | Ian Martorana (202-225-3031) | comments

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

Excerpts of Ryan’s answers to constituents follow:

On health care reform:

“Let me give you a backstop. First of all, we’ve got a real problem in that Obamacare is basically collapsing.”

“To restore a viable health insurance market . . . what [the American Health Care Act] does, is an older person, because they have more health care costs will pay more for their insurance, but not on an unlimited basis. They will get a tax credit based on their age to help them pay for that health insurance. So the bill that we passed has what we call age-adjusted tax credits, and it says: The older you are, the more tax credit you will get. The Senate is adding to that right now to help cover those additional costs that the older person would get for health insurance. . . . So we are going to give bigger tax credits to older people. Then the second thing we do—which I think is the smartest thing—instead of trying to force young people to pay for stuff they don’t need, we are going to cover the cost of catastrophically ill people.”

“We did this in Wisconsin before Obamacare. We had a thing called the high risk pool . . . The state said: We will cover the excessive cost of health care for people with catastrophic illnesses like heart disease or cancer so that they can buy affordable care. It’s subsidized. They’ve got seven plans to choose from. . . . And by covering those people with excessive illnesses, the other insurance pools don’t have to do that, and you lower everybody else’s insurance costs.”

“And then if you cover catastrophic illnesses like I just described, that is the biggest thing we can do to lower prices and premiums for people and that’s why our bill, we think, will make sure we cover people with pre-existing conditions and get them good, comprehensive care, but do it in such a way that you’re not cranking up everybody else’s health insurance premiums. That you can actually lower everybody else’s health insurance premiums. That’s the entire objective of the American Health Care Act.”

On higher education:

“There are two things were trying to do here. Number one, the student loan industry is a big monopoly that was taken over in 2010 and basically it is run by the federal government. The default rates are higher, and there is no competition in the student loan industry. And so, we would like to undo that nationalization of the student loan industry, and let there be more competitive products in the market place to lower costs of loans, people have more choices, and get people the ability to have more customized loans, that can be customized to their unique situation.”

“That is on the loan side, but the question is the cost side. Why is tuition inflation so much higher than ordinary inflation, which is also a question with health care? Health care and education the prices go up so much faster than they do than anything else we buy in society, and one of the things we are trying to figure out and look into is to get more transparency among colleges about where the money goes. It is so easy for colleges to crank up grants and loans and to keep feeding tuition inflation and its putting kids more and more in debt. So, more transparency on colleges, on how much money it costs, and also metrics that say: What do you get for this degree? Do students actually get the careers they want, the jobs and their majors they are studying for?”

“We can bring more competition among higher education and then use metric measurements to let students know what bang for your buck you get for buying this education from this school.”

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