The name "Paul Ryan" is spreading quickly through political circles as the newest superstar of the Republican party. And for a good reason, Paul Ryan is young, charismatic, conservative, and his cognitive grasp of health care reform and economic policy issues literally overwhelms his democrat opponents.
The Heritage Foundation recently named Congressman Paul Ryan as the future leader of the conservative movement. The Weekly Standard has called Paul Ryan "The Thinker" who is a major influence in health care policy reform. The Wall Street Journal called Paul Ryan the "Young Figure" that can lead the Republican Party out of the wilderness. Human Events called Paul Ryan "The Rising Star" of conservative politics. And Isthmus called Paul Ryan "The Poster Boy" of the Republican party. I'm sure you get the picture. Major news networks, newspapers, and news-related websites are starting to catch on - Paul Ryan is likely to be the future star of modern conservatism.
There seems to be no particular policy issue where Paul Ryan doesn't show expertise. Ryan has demonstrated a solid grasp of health care reform, economics, energy, education, social security, and even homeland security. However, one of the more substantial issues that Ryan has taken under his wing is health care reform.
Recently, Congress has been deliberating on the most significant health care bill in recent history - H.R. 3200 (The Public Option). Ryan has laid out a number of positions why he will oppose the 1,017 page H.R. 3200 if and when it moves through the U.S. Senate.
First, Medicare, the cornerstone of government health care programs, is growing to unsustainable levels and is virtually broke. And Medicaid has its problems as well. According to the Government Accountability Office, Medicaid had 32.7 billion dollars worth of improper payments in 2007 alone. If left unreformed, our current government health care programs will hurt our economy with crushing financial burdens. If government cannot make Medicare solvent or stop the hemorrhaging in Medicaid, then how can they run the Public Option with solvency?
Second, it is impossible to create a public program where the government serves as both the referee and the player in the same game. It's a stacked deck. The "Public Option" would pay doctors and medical facilities at below market pricing in order to control costs. We already see this problem with Medicare. When doctors and facilities are shortchanged, service prices will go up to compensate for the losses. Insurance companies will receive larger bills, which will be passed on employers in the form of higher premiums. Eventually, employers will decide that it's better to dump their employees insurance coverage and pay a 8% penalty than it is to pay for skyrocketing coverage. As a result, nearly 120 million would lose their private health care insurance.
And this is just one side of the coin. H.R. 3200 forces all private insurance companies to participate in a "health Insurance Exchange", which will put further constraints on private insurers by setting benefit requirements, which could be damaging to their bottom line. A Commissioner is given the authority, by H.R. 3200, to determine what these benefit requirements are. This gives Washington bureaucrats unprecedented decision-making power over our health.
And third, H.R. 32oo will not be deficit neutral, nor will it stop skyrocketing health care costs. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has reported that a public option will cost taxpayers an additional one trillion dollars over the next 10 years - a hike that the CBO calls "unsustainable". Bureaucrats typically underestimate the cost of government-run programs. When Medicare began in 1966, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated it would cost about $12 billion by 1990 (including inflation). In 1990, the actual cost was $107 billion (9 times the cost). And by 2006, Medicare had reached over $400 billion to operate, not including Medicaid's $309 billion. Before we tinker with a government run health care, we need to figure out how to contain the costs of government-run health care programs we currently use.
If not the Public Option, then what? Paul Ryan sponsored a bill called "The Patient's Choice Act. It was formulated as an answer to Obama's Public Option and is a real opportunity for health care reform that ultimately strengthens the relationship between patient and physician. Paul Ryan describes the Patient's Choice Act as a system of universal health care access without the problem of government control.
Currently, we do not have universal access to affordable health care coverage due to unfair competition with larger employers. Today's health care system subsidizes business corporations rather than individual patients. As Paul Ryan noted, this was done in an era where most individuals were employed by large corporations. However, today's America is not the same America of decades past.
The Patient's Choice Acts deters the current health care system from discriminating against the self-employed, the unemployed, and those who don't receive health care coverage at their jobs. Under the Patient's Choice Act, employees would be able to apply refundable tax benefits to their personal choice of health insurance regardless if the choose to change their place of employment. This gives patients ownership of their coverage and control of their health care decisions.
Another policy issue near and dear to Paul Ryan is our economic security. While critiquing the democrat-led stimulus package, Ryan advised Congress to provide a fast acting tax policy that would boost business incentives to promote job creation. Currently, the United States government levies a corporate tax on businesses that is the second highest in the industrialized world. Ryan states that this tax policy inhibits business growth during a economic recession. Instead of fueling the expansion of business during a stagnant economy, the stimulus bill dedicates a small fraction (2.7%) of its funds to helping businesses retain and create jobs. Also, the stimulus bill, according to Ryan, levies a new 1.4 trillion dollar tax (over 10 years) against the so called "wealthiest Americans". Keep in mind, however, these are the same Americans that generate 60-70% of the jobs in the U.S. economic market.
Paul Ryan, the architect of the "Roadmap for America's Future", lays out a plan of fiscal responsibility for future generations. Part of the plan includes eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends. By eliminating the capital gains tax, according to Ryan, it would promote capital investment and encourage individuals to contribute their wages to the economic market rather than keeping them under the proverbial mattress. Another problem, noted by Ryan, is the corporate income tax rate in the U.S. When American businesses compete in the global market, they find themselves at an unfair advantage with foreign competitors. American car manufacturers, for instance, are taxed twice when they export goods overseas. Foreign car manufacturers, on the other hand, do not operate by the same stiff tax penalties, which puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
Paul Ryan is not a Republican superstar because he's young and charismatic; he is a superstar because he's a policy expert that generates real solutions for America's most pressing problems. Although Ryan has successfully operated under the media radar most of his Congressional career, his analytical mind and a solid mental grasp of Congressional policy is starting to turn heads. Paul Ryan continues to impress and dumbfound even his most staunch liberal opponents in the media, and it's only a matter of time before Ryan becomes the single most important leader of the Republican party.
A special thanks to Congressman Paul Ryan for granting us permission to publish his articles on the Hispanic Conservative. You can visit Paul Ryan's websites at either Ryanforcongress.com or at Housegov.com.