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'Ryancare' Opponent Issues Dire Warning: This Is What Keeps Me Up at Night

03-14-2017
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WASHINGTON – One of the leading warriors in the Washington battle over replacing Obamacare issued some dire warnings Monday.  

Mike Needham of Heritage Action, the activist arm of the Heritage Foundation, told a media phone conference the present Republican plan will likely continue the death spirals Obamacare is already causing. And that will probably lead to a single-payer health care system similar to the one England now struggles with.

Death Spirals Could Go On

Needham complained that the present plan being touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his allies doesn't root out the fundamental architecture and many regulations Obamacare imposed on the nation.

"The biggest fear I have and what keeps me up at night is that Republicans pass a health care bill that keeps the fundamental architecture of Obamacare in place, that the same death spirals that are already starting to happen under Obamacare happen under a Republican replacement plan," Needham stated.

"Then in 2020 or 2024, the American people look at a health care system that is collapsing, and vote a Democrat in who says the only answer is single-payer health care," he warned.

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Ryancare Is in Trouble

Opponents of so-called Ryancare argue it's not too late to radically change it and it probably can't be passed in Congress anyway since it's presently structured.

"Ryancare is in a precarious situation in the House and it's currently not even close to having the votes to pass in the Senate," Needham explained.

He added, "There's no doubt over the next week, if not longer, there's going to be a lot of arm-twisting and pressure that's brought on House members and eventually senators to vote for this if it gets to the Senate."

But he said Heritage Action and its allies are reminding people that sometimes doing the right thing takes courage.

"The right way forward is to repeal Obamacare, to replace that architecture with free market, patient-centric health care," Needham argued. "And I think the reason that this nation has a conservative party is to do that – not to go work with Democrats to walk down a path toward further government intervention in health care markets."

Trump's More Open Than Congressional Leaders

One reporter asked the Heritage Action head if he fears the White House and President Donald Trump's bully pulpit since it's widely perceived the Trump administration fully supports Ryancare.

Needham argued it's not so cut and dried. He said he was at a meeting with Trump last week and the president seemed to still have an open mind.

"I thought he was still in a listening mode and looking for good ideas. I found him receptive to good ideas," Needham shared. "What concerns me is that the attitude coming from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue is much more an attitude of take it or leave it. This is a binary choice: 'We have a monopoly on good ideas.' "

"So I'm hopeful that we can have an inner-active process where good ideas are considered, ways to turn this bill from where it currently stands to a great bill that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with something better," he continued. "And I think that's going to take the kind of openness that we've seen thus far from President Trump."  

Another reporter asked if conservatives are worried voters will see conservative efforts to fully repeal and replace Obamacare as taking a benefit away from Americans.

Failing Millions of People

Needham said of Obamacare, "It's a program that is failing millions and millions of people. And you see insurers pulling out of markets. You see premiums and deductibles skyrocketing. And in many parts of the country you only see one insurer available to people."  

"And I think going in and doing a rescue mission to help people who are hurting because of Obamacare is what we're trying to do," he explained. "And that's what the American people sent Republicans to Washington to do."

The conservative activist recalled what would get then-candidate Trump massive applause at his rallies.

"One of the biggest applause lines he got was to repeal and replace Obamacare," Needham said. "It wasn't to tweak Obamacare.  It wasn't to keep Obamacare's architecture in place.  It was to repeal and replace Obamacare. And the reason that's a great applause line is that Obamacare is hurting many people and they want to see it gone."

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