Rep. Paul Ryan: Romneycare Carried ‘Seeds’ of Obamacare

Pete Winn | February 7, 2012 | 1:19pm EST
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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

( - House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Tuesday that the health-care reform plan that Gov. Mitt Romney signed in Massachusetts carried “seeds” of the national heatlh-care reform plan later signed by President Barack Obama.

"Were there seeds for these policy ideas in Massachusetts? Sure I think there were," Ryan told Tuesday, during a conference call to preview a major address he will give later this week to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington

But Ryan said that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney "has done a pretty good job of suggesting" that he would not impose on the national level any individual mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.

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Moreover, regardless of whomever becomes the GOP nominee, Ryan said, "We’re not going there” -- meaning that Republicans would not support imposing an individual mandate had asked Ryan:

“Congressman, a lot of people, including President Obama, have said that Romneycare, which mandates people buy health insurance and provides subsidies for up to 300 percent of poverty level, was the model for Obamacare. Do you agree?”

Ryan replied: “Well the mandate is, I’d say--first of all, I think Mitt Romney’s done a pretty good job of suggesting that he wouldn’t do that at the federal level, he clearly is against Obamacare. I don’t think mandates--first of all I don’t think they’re constitutional, especially at the federal level. And so, what matters is whoever our nominee is, whether its Mitt or Rick or Newt, that they’re opposed to Obamacare.”

Ryan said the Congress had spent the last year “passing various versions of repeal of Obamacare.”

“We’re going to show how we would not only repeal, but replace Obamacare,"  Ryan said.  "Clearly, I think the Supreme Court, I’m knocking on wood here, is going to strike down--I’m hoping and thinking--the individual mandate. So were there seeds of these policy ideas in Massachusetts? Sure. I think there were.

“But I think it’s very clear that we’re not going there, meaning we’re not going to take the country down that path. We disagree with that policy architecture. I think the policy architecture of Obamacare has to be pulled out root, branch, and everything if we’re going to save this country.”

Ryan said if we don’t “fix” health care, the nation can’t solve the debt crisis.

“The debt crisis really is a health care issue,” he told “And the question we have before us is whether or not we go back to toward a market-based consumer-directed health-care reforms where the individual patient is in the nucleus of the health-care system, or we go down the path of a government-run and rationed program. That’s really the choice we have in front of us.

“And again, I think be whoever our nominee is going to be perfectly capable of carrying this torch, especially if House Republicans are already advancing this torch and blazing that trail, which is exactly what we intend on doing.”

Romneycare, the Massachusetts health-care insurance reform law created in 2006, mandates that almost every resident of Massachusetts obtain a state-government-regulated minimum level of health-care insurance coverage.

It provides total insurance subsidies--free coverage--for residents earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level and partial subsidies for those earning up to 300 percent of poverty level.

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