Paul Ryan’s ties to Health Insurance

Still fuming over Rep. Paul Ryan’s quote, “This isn’t a budget. This is a cause” and happened upon some actually interesting economic analysis.

During his little press conference, Ryan had invoked the name of Alice Rivlin referring to his stupidly named ‘Path to Prosperity’ as part of the Ryan-Rivlin Plan.  In seeking out something on the connection between Ms. Rivlin and Mr. Ryan there was this bit of analysis regarding Medicare vs insurance:

Whether traditional Medicare could survive as an option, in the sort of system Rivlin says she envisions, is open to question and would depend, in part, on the regulations governing the whole system. But, at least in principle, she wouldn’t force people into private insurance. The new Ryan plan would.

Just the other day someone had sent this link via Twitter tying in Paul Ryan’s bribes political donations from the “insurance industry” which at the time seemed just benign information.  Now it’s more like fodder.

1. Over his career, Paul Ryan received more than $2.1 million in campaign contributions to his campaign account and his leadership committee, Prosperity PAC, from health and insurance interests.

2. Insurance interests alone accounted for more than $850,000 of that total, with health professionals providing more than half a million dollars and pharmaceutical interests giving more than $250,000.

3. Among Ryan’s biggest backers were:

* Blue Cross/Blue Shield, whose PAC and executives gave him $75,650 in campaign contributions;

* America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose PAC and executives gave him $29,500; and

* Koch Industries, whose PAC and executives gave $100,500, including $2,500 from billionaire David Koch.

FYI: Paul Ryan was first elected to Congress in 1999.

Another bit of information is that Ryan’s plan would go into effect in 2022 in relation to Medicare.  Well – just guess who becomes eligible for Medicare about that time? And guess who has been working since the age of 16 when monies began extracted from their earnings for Social Security?  As Jonathan Chait brings up after viewing a video of Mr. Ryan’s explanation of his plan.

Ryan doesn’t mention the tax cuts, of course, because they unravel the entire rationale for his proposal.  Americans overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan understands he can only make his plan acceptable if those cuts are seen as necessary to save the programs.

And certainly some level of cutting is necessary.  But Ryan’s level of cutting goes far beyond what’s needed to preserve those programs, and it does so in order to clear room for a very large, regressive tax cut.  He is making a choice — not just cut Medicare to save Medicare, but also to cut Medicare in order to cut taxes for the rich.

Americans United for Change have out a public service announcement regarding Mr. Ryan’s proposal.

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