Paul Ryan appeared at an “ideas summit” put on by the National Review on Friday and issued one of those most tone-deaf statements you will ever hear a politician make, saying that he’s been dreaming about cutting people off Medicaid since he was a drunken frat boy swilling beer in college.
Speaking to National Review editor Rich Lowry at an event hosted by the conservative magazine, House Speaker Paul Ryan made the case for the American Health Care Act by presenting it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cut Medicaid spending.
“We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around,” Ryan says, before interrupting himself to clarify exactly how big of an opportunity this is, “since you and I were drinking out of kegs.”
Really? You’ve been dreaming about cutting poor people, especially children, from their health insurance, making their lives immeasurably worse? Was it a wet dream for you, you heartless SOB? Because make no mistake about it, this will cost people’s lives. People will die and those that don’t will be sicker, less productive and less likely to have happy, healthy lives:
AHCA’s Medicaid rollbacks would cost 14 million people their health insurance coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But those 14 million people are people who only got Medicaid coverage relatively recently. Ryan’s youthful dream refers to provisions of the law that will cap per capita spending for the millions of other lower-income Americans who get Medicaid coverage.
Medicaid as it currently exists is already a very efficient health insurance provider, covering both children and adults at lower per capita costs than private insurance, so it’s very unlikely that Ryan’s per capita caps can be implemented without compromising the quality of the care.
Cutting spending on health care for children is particularly cruel, and will also have deleterious long-term consequences for the overall American economy. Studies of earlier waves of Medicaid expansion find that kids who gain coverage are more likely to complete high school and college, go on to earn more money and pay more taxes, and have fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations later in life.
And this is what you dream about? You are an absolutely horrible human being.