Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) was once one of the most ardent opponents of Obamacare. He has spoken articulately about the double-counting in Obamacare, and in 2010 refused to support deficit reduction measures recommended by the co-chairs of the Simpson-Bowles Commission because those measures did not include repeal of Obamacare.
Now, Ryan’s view on Obamacare may be “evolving” as Vice President Joe Biden would say. Ryan’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal failed to mention Obamacare even once. This drew sharp criticism from Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin:
“Not once did Mr. Ryan mention the program that is hurting hard-working Americans. We must remember the reason we are fighting and remain united in our opposition to Obamacare….
Mr. Ryan, as you’ve said in the past: ‘Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees,’ when referring to Obamacare in response to the President’s State of the Union address in 2011. Follow your own advice…”
Ryan’s voting record prove the Chairman is no fiscal conservative – despite his reputation. But with his new position on funding Obamacare, his opposition to the disastrous law may have been more political than principled.
According to House Budget Committee spokesperson Will Allison, the Congressman is still dedicated to repealing Obamacare. “Obamacare was a costly mistake, and Chairman Ryan is fully committed to dismantling it. He argued in [the] Wall Street Journal, “[W]e need . . . a complete rethinking of government’s approach to health care.”
Allison also pointed Tea Party Patriots to an interview Ryan did with Bill Bennett earlier this week. From Townhall.com:
Bennett: Are you putting Obamacare to the side?
Ryan: No. Obamacare is an entitlement just like any other entitlement. So as far as we are concerned is part of this conversation. Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare. Those are the big drivers of our debt.
If you look at the op-ed I say we have to rethink all of our nation’s health care laws. I don’t know that within the next two weeks we have a viable strategy for actually repealing Obamacare, every piece of it. We’ve defunded it. We’ve passed a delay of its more pernicious effects. We are going to keep going after Obamacare.
Ryan went on to say he is “totally dedicated to dismantling” Obamacare, saying the goal was to add other items to the list of things that Congress needs to get done. But Ryan’s description of Obamacare as regular entitlement is false. Obamacare is unlike any other entitlement as it is not yet entrenched and has not had the chance to make millions of Americans dependent on taxpayer funds.
Entitlement and tax reform are critical to the future of America, and market-based reform is a long overdue. However, the reasons those changes are so hard – the well rooted loopholes, big spending, and unaffordable benefits – are exactly why Obamacare must be fought now, not after it is fully operational.
Obamacare’s failure is inevitable, but Congressman Ryan’s strategy only barters over how much of America fails with it.