DCCC Sends Paul Ryan Halloween Greetings
Everyday is Halloween for this clown
The DCCC may have picked a really bad candidate-- another worthless reactionary not even worth voting for-- in NY-23, but they sure know how to send out a cool Halloween card. And speaking of "worthless," you won't find many members of Congress, on either side of the aisle, worth less to working families than Wisconsin bribe-taker Paul Ryan. It starts with a standard Kenosha Halloween greeting: TRICK OR TREAT-- Representative Ryan: Where's Your Health Reform Bill?
After Roy Blunt failed, dismally, to come up with a Republican alternative to the Democrat's plans to offer more choices and less expensive health insurance to Americans, Minority Leader John Boehner popped his head out of his tanning booth long enough to ask Paul Ryan to come up with something that might sound plausible and make people think Republicans were something other than just the Party of No. He explained that this time they were looking for something with a little more effort put into it that an empty binder, like when he handed in his neat-looking, but kindergarten level, alternative budget.
It’s been more than four months since the House Republican leadership broke their promise to release a health reform alternative, and Representative Paul Ryan has yet to offer a meaningful alternative. Acknowledging the fact that House Republicans have no actual solutions, in what can only be described as a Halloween trick, today the Republican Party of ‘No Health Reform’ circulated a memo on how to kill health insurance reform without “making the Republican Party look bad.”
“As a Member of Congress who doesn’t have to worry about the taxpayer-funded health insurance for themselves or their family, it’s easy for Representative Ryan to just say ‘no’ to health insurance reform and play tricks on his constituents while continuing to put big health insurance companies first,” said Ryan Rudominer, spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “But, the people of Representative Ryan's district deserve more than his offering how-to guides for killing health insurance reform ‘without making the Republican Party look bad,’ they deserve actual solutions to spiraling health insurance costs.”
Ryan is by no means the longest-serving member of Wisconsin's Washington delegation. David Obey, one of the most powerful figures in DC, was first elected in 1969 and Ryan's 2 Republican colleagues, Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri were both elected in the 1970s. But when it comes to trading votes for Insurance Industry bucks, no one comes close to Ryan. Tammy Baldwin and Ryan were elected on the same day in 1998. She's taken slightly over $50,000 in contributions from the Insurance Industry. Ryan has taken considerably more: $518,051. Ryan hadn't been born when Obey was first elected but Obey's only gotten $123,556 from Big Insurance (about $3,000 a year). When Sensenbrenner was elected Ryan's mother was still pulling her hair out because her son was still wetting his bed at night. But Sensenbrenner, a devoted friend and supporter of all Big Business interests, has only taken in $252,898, half of Ryan's haul! Ryan has taken in over double what all three of the state's senators in recent times (Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl and Republican Bob Kasten) have, combined. There's little doubt that Paul Ryan is the most corrupt man Wisconsin has ever sent to Washington, part of the reason he's the only member of the House with a Blue America page devoted exclusively to defeating him.
The Democrat running against him, Paulette Garin, lists health care as the #1 issue she wants to address. And she's far from the only one living in southeast Wisconsin who has noticed that Ryan is more concerned with the Insurance Industry lobbyists and CEOs than he is with the working families of Racine, Kenosha, Franklin, Janesville, Greenfield and Muskego. The Racine Journal Times published an OpEd by local health care expert Kelly Gallaher excoriating Ryan for his deceitful approach to the health care debate. He "establishes his opposition by claiming that 'drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage plans would devastate seniors enrolled in these plans.' This assertion," she writes, "is questionable at best, and certainly an ironic role reversal given GOP actions of the recent past." Ryan, like most of his Republican colleagues voted to end Medicare as it currently exists and convert it "from a program that guarantees seniors all necessary access to care into a voucher system that provides future retirees only a fixed sum of money to purchase private health insurance. In Rep. Ryan's proposal '... new retirees would not even have the option of buying into traditional fee-for-service Medicare once the voucher system is implemented.' John Rother, Vice President for Policy at AARP called the Ryan plan 'a very dangerous idea.' Furthermore, Rother said, 'Converting Medicare into a voucher would increase costs for all beneficiaries and over time force less-affluent seniors to accept lower-quality care.'"
It is also ironic that Ryan and his Republican colleagues have chosen Medicare Advantage as a rallying point for dispensing falsehoods and distortions about health care reform. In 2003, Republicans joined forces to create Medicare Advantage as an upgrade to Medicare by allowing private insurers to compete with government plans for seniors. Medicare gave them the money it would have spent and let private insurers try do a better job. Except they didn't, in fact, they failed. Prices shot up and Republicans funneled in more money to increase reimbursement rates. Today, Medicare Advantage pays private plans 114 percent of the cost Medicare would have paid, with cost projections continuing to rise. Overpayments resulted in $3.36 billion in profits for private insurers in 2006 alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This free market experiment has not yielded the innovations promised and the only "advantage" has been for private insurance companies and not the American people.
Current health care legislation which Rep. Ryan opposes is designed to cut the waste and overpayments in Medicare Advantage, but not benefits. Any argument against such action is really an argument in favor of waste and abuse.
The America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act being considered today is committed to protecting and strengthening Medicare for America's seniors. It doesn't use a dime of the Medicare trust fund to pay for reform. Instead, it eliminates waste to strengthen the financial health of the program. The AAHCCA enhances quality and affordability particularly for seniors by filling the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D (prescription drug benefit). AAHCCA will eliminate any deductible, co-payments and cost sharing for preventive services in Medicare and Medicare Advantage. AAHCCA improves low-income subsidy programs in Medicare; it improves the delivery and coordination of services for people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, enhances nursing home transparency and accountability requirements and makes long-term care more affordable.
The America's Affordable Health Care Choices Act extends Medicare program solvency by improving payment accuracy to ensure that the right amount is paid, expands funding and authority to fight waste, fraud and abuse and eliminates overpayments to private plans.
When Rep. Ryan argues against health care reform by telling you that it will cut Medicare benefits for seniors, all one has to do is look at his record. The current system is unsustainable and he helped create it. During Republican control of Congress, health insurance premiums in Wisconsin increased 108 percent from 1999 to 2009 while wage earnings increased only 30 percent. In speaking about his failure to act on health care just last week, Ryan said "We should have fixed this under our watch and I'm frustrated we didn't." Because of this inaction: 14,000 Americans lost their health insurance today and another 14,000 will tomorrow. About 122 Americans died today because they had no insurance and the same number will die tomorrow. Every 30 seconds today an American will file for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious illness. Ryan had years to fix our broken system; he failed. Democrats will protect the promise they made to American seniors with Medicare 40 years ago and pass real health care reform. The time is now.
There are something like 73,000 uninsured people among Ryan's constituents. Under the plan he's taken a leading role in savaging, 51,000 of them would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance, while 14,000 small businesses would qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance and 9,400 senior citizens in the district would avoid the Donut Hole annually. Would taxes go up? Yes-- but in WI-01, they would rise only for the wealthiest few. In fact 99.3% of Ryan's constituents would see exactly zero dollars in increases. But he's more concerned about the 0.7% of millionaires-- many of whom donate to his campaigns-- than he is about health care or about the 99.3%.
Please consider donating to Stop Paul Ryan or to electing Paulette Garin... or both.