Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ryan: Public Option Dead in name only


Congressman Paul Ryan:

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan believes that even if a public health insurance option is not included in a final health care bill, the legislation, if passed, would likely create the conditions for government-run health care down the road.

"I think it's dead in name but not in substance," the Janesville Republican told WisPolitics today following a speech to the Madison chapter of Financial Executives International. "I think what the majority is going to try to do is put something that effectively creates a public option but allows them to say that it's not in this bill."

Ryan argued that a provision of the Senate bill -- which would allow the Office of Personnel Management to set up an insurance "system" -- "more or less plants the seeds for a public option to occur."

"I always thought the public option was kind of a stalking horse, and it was always something that would be traded away at the end of the day," Ryan said.

Ryan also predicted Democrats would be unable to move carbon cap-and-trade legislation through the Senate, in part due to the political toll the health care debate has taken on the party.

"I don't think it can survive a filibuster," Ryan said, adding that he doesn't think efforts by the Obama administration to regulate carbon emissions through the EPA would be successful, either.

Ryan also addressed his appearance next month at a pair of New Hampshire GOP fundraisers. He said he was invited by the state Republican Party and former U.S. Sen. John Sununu, reiterating that "there's no way" he's running for president in 2012.

"New Hampshirites are going to have a huge say-so in picking our next nominee, and I wanted to give my 2 cents in saying, 'Please pick a nominee who understands the economic and fiscal crisis in this country. Pick somebody who knows it, understands it and will take it on,'" Ryan said.

"My point is to simply give kind of a 'Paul Revere' speech on the fiscal crisis in this country, so New Hampshirites use that as one of the litmus tests and the standards that they hold the eventual nominee to."

Listen to Ryan's comments here.

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