Paul Ryan Keeps Forgetting Health-Care Reform

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens during the vice presidential debate at Centre College October 11, 2012 in Danville, Kentucky.  This is the second of four debates during the presidential election season and the only debate between the vice presidential candidates before the closely-contested election November 6.
I know I forgot something... Wallet? Keys? Wait! I took health insurance away from fifty million people! Why do I always do that? Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A familiar tone of befuddlement and regret has crept into the coverage by some conservatives of Paul Ryan’s latest budget proposal, especially its proposal to repeal Obamacare without any replacement. “Better to have shown how the ACA can be fixed,” anguishes James Pethokoukis. Ramesh Ponnuru has regrets, too:


The House Republicans should have been bolder on health care, too. Their new budget envisions the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health-care law but outlines no replacement for it, which is rather odd for a document that purports to provide a Republican vision for the future of the welfare state.

It’s not “odd.” It’s the furthest thing from odd. It’s the House Republican ideology.

It’s not “odd.” It’s the furthest thing from odd. It’s the House Republican ideology.

Putting into place some different plan to cover the uninsured would cost money. Republicans don’t want to spend money covering the uninsured.

Now, it’s true that they’re happy to wave around vague plans to cover the uninsured as an effort to “show” that they have a plan of their own, as part of the effort to oppose health-care reform. I’m sure many Republicans actually agree with those plans, at least in the abstract. What they don’t agree with is the idea that it’s worth having higher taxes in order to subsidize access to health care for people too poor or sick to buy it themselves.

I recognize that Ponnuru is being a bit arch when he calls this decision odd. But the GOP’s collective decision that low taxes trump any version of universal health care is an important one. It ought to be subject to scrutiny and debate, not brushed aside as an oversight.