Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, this morning likened the health care program Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts to President Obama's signature health care legislation, and said he was not a fan of either one.
“It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare," Ryan said when asked about Romney's plan at a breakfast sponsored by the Spectator and held at the offices of Americans for Tax Reform. "And you probably know that I’m not a big fan of ObamaCare."
He went on to criticize a central element of both plans -- the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance.
"I just don’t think the mandates work," Ryan said. "I haven’t studied in depth the status of it, but I think it’s beginning to death spiral, they’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions. I don’t think this kind of a system works."
By "death spiral" Ryan is referring to the phenomenon that occurs when government requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, which discourages healthy people from buying insurance because they know they can always find coverage when they get sick, which in turn drives up the cost of insurance even more, and causes more healthy people to exit the market, and so on. This is what the individual mandate is supposed to prevent, but Ryan, like other health policy analysts is a skeptic that it works in practice.
Ryan went on, "That's why I’m a believer in a consumer-based patient centered health care reforms, and I don’t think that the Massachusetts plan does it, it goes in the opposite direction.”
The Massachussetts health care plan he signed remains the biggest liability for Romney as he prepares a likely presidential run.
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