Paul Ryan: Truth on Medicare Will Win Out


Paul Ryan rejects the narrative being pushed by the liberal media that his proposal to reform Medicare is toxic for the Republican Party. “Demagoguery can work for a short period of time, but it doesn’t last because the truth comes out,” he told Human Events. “Time is on our side. Truth and the facts are on our side, and all we have to do is get the truth out there.”

He added: “It just takes time because you’ve got to get the facts out. If you have a tight time compression, if you have a short period of time, the demagoguery can work, but it can’t last.”

Democrats nationwide are crowing about the victory of Kathy Hochul over Republican Jane Corwin in upstate New York as a repudiation of Paul Ryan’s budget, and, more directly, his proposal to overhaul the way Medicare operates. Joe Klein of Time Magazine even called the New York-26 election a “victory for socialism.”

While Human Events has reported that many factors contributed to the Republican loss in New York’s special election, including a weak candidate with terrible media ads and dirty tricks by a liberal Tea Party imposter, fear-mongering certainly played a role, with one shameless Democratic ad actually featuring a wheelchair-bound elderly woman being hurled off a cliff, blaming this tossing of grandma on “Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress.”

Medicare can work in the beginning, Ryan told Human Events, “but it doesn’t have any endurance because it’s based on total falsehoods.”

And those falsehoods are numerous, which is why Human Events gave Ryan the opportunity to respond to his critics. Even so, when your opponents are accusing you of murder for offering up gradual reforms to a system everyone knows needs revamping, you’re admittedly in a tough position.

In other words, Ryan’s opponents are perverse. That being said, let’s go-ahead with some myth busting.

When liberal politicians aren’t accusing their Republican colleagues of forcing the elderly into a life of eating cat food and living in refrigerator boxes, they cite a Congressional Budget office analysis that claims seniors would have to pay on average $6,000 more per year under the Ryan plan. “That CBO analysis forgot to include $7,800 in additional support for low-income seniors,” the Wisconsin Republican pointed out to us in a phone interview.

The second point is, and this is an important one, the CBO “doesn’t put any credence into competition.” As Ryan points out, pumping competition and free-market principles into the GOP’s “prescription drug” plan resulted in the program’s coming in 41% under budget. “CBO just does a very crude analysis where they don’t even bother assuming that competition works.”

The thing is: Competition clearly does work in bringing down the price of… anything, really.

What about insurances companies? Critics argue that Ryan’s “premium support” model in which seniors get to choose from a list of different private plans is a boon to the insurance industry and thus must not be implemented. “The whole premise of that argument is that we should not have a private health insurance company and that the government should run healthcare. I reject the entire premise of it,” Ryan fired back. “We already have great examples in healthcare today of how you can increase quality and lower costs with private plans competing against each other.”

Under “premium support,” Ryan continued, “the senior is the chooser and the decision maker, not the bureaucrat.”

And as Ryan notes, many of the recommendations he’s offering are similar to those of President Bill Clinton’s “bipartisan commission to save Medicare.” In fact, prominent Democrats, including one of Clinton’s top economists Alice Rivlin, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey and former Democratic Majority Leader Dick Gephardt all supported varying degrees of “premium support” to shore up Medicare.

But that was then. Now Democrats have decided to abandon trying to fix the coming debt tsunami and instead are trying to exploit his solutions for political advantage.

But will it work?

Hardly, says a confident Ryan: “I believe that is going to backfire on them. And I believe that the Republicans are way ahead of the political class. This whole conventional wisdom of running ‘Medi-scare’ is not going to work in a day and age when people know that Medicare is going bankrupt and they know that we have a debt crisis.”