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The Further Adventures of Paul Ryan, Serious Policy Wonk

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Paul Ryan has a very, very serious proposal to eventually have a proposal to take away health insurance from millions of people to pay for upper-class tax cuts. He is defending it with all the seriousity his proposal deserves:

The rhetoric: In her inaugural weekly address, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed that repealing Obamacare—a law that, in her words, has experienced “immense progress”—will result in widespread death and suffering.

The reality: Similar claims of 36,000 annual deaths made by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were already disproven earlier this month—but that didn’t stop Leader Pelosi from following suit.

Only if you click through to the link that allegedly “disproves” the claim, Kessler doesn’t dispute that repealing the ACA would result in large-scale avoidable death and suffering, but merely says that we can’t be sure that the number of deaths would be exactly 36,000 people a year. Whether this justifies Bernie’s claim being given FOUR PINOCCHIOS is, ah, debatable — remember that Kessler once named a perfectly defensible normative claim about Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare in the form it’s always existed the “lie of the year” because look at Paul Ryan’s hangdog expression, he would never mean to do that. But that aside Sanders’s claim was not “disproven”; it just put an exact number on a potential range of outcomes, and Pelosi’s accurate claim was not addressed at all. Very serious!

And while the scare tactics Leader Pelosi used painted a grim picture, the status quo remains: Keeping Obamacare will result in even higher costs, fewer choices, and lower-quality care for Americans nationwide.

In fact, the ACA has substantially lowered costs from where they would have been without the law, and the idea that it has resulted in “lower-quality care” is silly. It has reduced “choice” in the sense that it has made the worst junk insurance that gives you almost nothing in exchange for your premiums illegal, but this not a flaw in the law.

That’s why Republicans are focused on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a patient-centered system—one that prioritizes affordability, quality, and choice. Because being forced into something by the government is the last thing a patient needs when working with his or her health care provider.

See, “choice” gets the italics as well as the bolding, because what Paul Ryan wants is for the law, in its majestic equality, to allow rich and poor alike to afford the best insurance that can be purchased on a deregulated market. And since without a mandate and with a substantial reduction in subsidies most insurance markets will be sent into a death spiral, even the “choice” part won’t really pan out.

In addition to the obvious “rich and poor alike can save money for health care” problem, note that this language is also part of the longstanding conservertarian war on the concept of insurance. It uses buzzwords to avoid being as blunt about it, but the fundamental premise of Ryan’s logic is the same as the obscenely self-centered people who don’t understand why their health insurance should cover maternity since they’ve already had their kids.

Poor Ken Arrow must already be spinning in his grave.

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