Patti Wenzel

Paul Ryan preaches to the choir

By - Sep 1st, 2009 12:20 pm
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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan  Photo courtesy house.gov

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan

There was no sense of moderation among more than 500 citizens that listened, cheered and supported Rep. Paul Ryan’s take on Washington’s health care reform proposal at Greendale High School Monday afternoon. This crowd that was fired up to take on big government even before Ryan took the stage.

Ryan ran the show from beginning to end. He presented information based on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of HR 3200 that cemented his position that the proposed health care bill will place onerous surcharges on small businesses, cut $500 billion from Medicare reimbursements, eliminate 4.9 million jobs in the insurance and medical industries and eliminate personal choice to over 103 million American citizens.

Ryan said the public option will influence businesses to make the economic decision to stop providing health coverage to employees, and instead, pay the 8 percent surcharge on payroll for not offering health insurance.

“This will force up to 103 million Americans into giving up their current doctors and into care chosen by the government,” Ryan added.

The one-sided presentation was expected and brought the crowd to their feet, encouraging Ryan to offer his own alternative to HR3200, something he calls The Patient’s Choice Act.

Ryan received thunderous applause when he mentioned his plan would increase Health Savings Account access, and the crowd booed and hissed when he added that those same HSAs would not be allowed in the current configuration of HR 3200.  He also touched on the boogie-man in the room – rationing – which brought more jeers from the crowd.

“They claim that HR 3200 will reduce 30 percent of medical costs by eliminating high-cost procedures and increasing competitiveness,” Ryan said. “But that means the government will determine how care is delivered, which will lead to rationing. It doesn’t explicitly say it, and the President doesn’t want to do it, but it will lead to rationing as it is set up.”

Those in the audience who were lucky enough to ask Ryan a question served him softballs that allowed him to continue to campaign for his own plan. One speaker, who appeared to be young and healthy, reveled in the fact that he doesn’t have health coverage and doesn’t expect others to provide him with it. He continued to rally against Cap and Trade, Card Check and illegal immigration, leading to a standing ovation and a suggestion by Ryan that he run for Congress in another district.

Citizens listened attentively to Ryan's presentation on the current health reform bill.

Citizens listened attentively to Ryan’s presentation on the current health reform bill.

Ryan told another audience member that HR 3200 is not the type of legislation that could easily be turned back, even if conservatives took control after the 2010 mid-term elections.

“This needs to be stopped now. It would be difficult to turn this off once the private sector is altered and all these people have a government benefit they’ve never had before,” Ryan added. “Let’s just fix what’s broken and not break what’s working.”

There was a smattering of opposition, but it went largely unheard and unseen. Sandra L. Yaeger and her friend, Jerry Hills, shook their heads and showed their displeasure with Ryan’s presentation.

“Our health care system is obviously broken,” Yaeger said following the meeting. “I don’t see how people can cheer and encourage the rejection of something that will be good for everybody.”

Yaeger was especially confused by the people in the auditorium who continued to call for the elimination of government oversight in health care, but she didn’t seem to mind the intrusion of insurance companies in their health decisions. Hills added that he knows too many people who have lost their savings and lives due to the decisions of insurance bureaucracies.

“I’m tired of the same old thing with medical care,” Hills said. “Health care is a universal issue that is bankrupting Democrats and Republicans alike.”

While Hills and Yaeger were fighting for a change, the audience seemed happy with the status quo, something that was summed-up by the final audience participant. She invoked the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s battle with brain cancer.

“If you look at the last 15 months, Sen. Kennedy didn’t run off to Canada or the United Kingdom for care, he stayed here for the best care in the world.”

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