Woodward book backs Pual Ryan on Simpson-Bowles
Supposed fact-checkers have all but called Paul Ryan a liar for pointing out that President Obama rejected his own Simpson-Bowles debt commission while not mentioning that he too voted against the Simpson-Bowles plan. But as Bob Woodward reports in his new book The Price of Politics, Ryan had a perfectly good reason for voting against the plan, an explanation accepted personally by Alan Simpson. From the Woodward book:
Just before lunch that morning, one day before the fiscal commission was due to vote, Simpson and Bowles went into the House Ways and Means Committee’s private library to see the fiscal commission’s three Republican House members: Dave Camp, Jeb Hensarling, and Paul Ryan.
“I hope and pray that you didn’t vote against this because of pressure from Grover Norquist,” Simpson told the Republicans. “Because if you did, I’ve lost all respect for you.”
This is not about Grover, Ryan said. You’re broadening the base and lowering rates. That’s the kind of reform we all agree with. The problem, Ryan said, was the impact of the commission’s plan to eliminate the tax deduction for employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
If you remove the tax exclusion for health care, then you’re going to dramatically accelerate employers’ dumping their employees into Obamacare, Ryan said. You will eviscerate the employer-sponsored health care market. Everyone will be shoved into Obamacare and the cost will explode.
Ryan feared teh governemnt would find itself with an open-ended commitment to paying for the health care of more than 100 million people. On top of that, he added, the commission hadn’t addressed the increasing costs of Medicare and Medicaid.
We’re going to accelerate a debt crisis if we put this thing together, Ryan said.
“That’s a good answer,” Simpson told them. “I sure will accept that answer. That’s honest.”