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Excerpts from comments made by Rep Ryan:  Healthcare: Capitalizing on common ground  Jul 16, 2009

In the face of a looming entitlement crisis, the majority remains intent on creating a costly new government healthcare entitlement, believing that it can fairly compete with non-subsidized private plans.

Here is how it works: The federal government “option” would reimburse doctors at below market prices in order to control costs, forcing those with private coverage to make up the difference. With costs continuing to mount, employers will increasingly find it more cost-effective to dump their employees onto the government-run plan and pay an additional 8 percent payroll tax for each worker.

Some estimates state that under this public plan option, two out of every three Americans would lose their current coverage.

The president has yet to explain this actuarial fact with his promise: “If you like what you got, you can keep it.”

With more Americans forced onto the government-run plan, the only way to contain costs will be through rationing by the federal government. The decision as to whether or not you need a potentially life-saving treatment will not be a decision you, your family or your doctor will make, it is a decision the government will make on your behalf.

The more Americans learn the details of what is being rushed through Congress, the more folks will be looking for alternatives.

Thankfully, many in Congress have put forward innovative, patient-centered solutions. These alternative reforms demonstrate that we can achieve universal access to quality, affordable healthcare in America, without adding trillions in new taxes and debt, and without the federal government taking it over.

The consequences of getting reform wrong go beyond costly missteps to America’s economic, fiscal, and personal health: Washington-centered healthcare is an affront to the American ideal. 

Government-run healthcare threatens our historic reliance on personal responsibility and initiative, to be replaced by passivity and dependence on a full-blown welfare state.

There is room for common ground on commonsense reforms — to not only promote fiscally responsible, patient-centered healthcare, but also to preserve the identity of an America rooted in free enterprise, limited government and individual liberty.

Ryan is ranking member of the House Budget Committee, senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and co-author of H.R. 2520, The Patients’ Choice Act.