Rep. Ryan says deficit reduction plan would ‘entrench ObamaCare’

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who will chair the House Budget Committee next year, said Thursday that he would vote against the president’s deficit commission plan.

“Obviously I am not going to vote for it,” he told reporters at an event organized by The Christian Science Monitor. He said the plan makes spending problems related to healthcare “dramatically worse.”

“The plan accelerates and entrenches ObamaCare,” Ryan said. By taxing employer health plans but leaving the rest of the healthcare reform law in place, the plan presented by the chairmen of the deficit commission would push too many people into healthcare exchanges, which Ryan said would balloon subsidies paid by the government.

The debt commission is set to vote on the plan on Friday. Fourteen of the 18 commissioners must vote yes for the plan to be adopted.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had promised to bring up the commission report for a vote if it is adopted, but incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made no such commitment.

Calling federal healthcare spending “our single largest fiscal challenge," the debt commission recommends reforming the payment structure for Medicare doctors, as well as fixing or repealing a new long-term insurance plan created by healthcare reform. The commission also recommends holding growth in federal health spending to growth in gross domestic product plus 1 percent starting in 2020 and requiring the president and Congress to make recommendations whenever the average cost growth exceeds that limit.

The commission also recommends strengthening the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was created by healthcare reform to make Medicare spending recommendations. Republicans have long targeted the IPAB for repeal, saying it provides too much power to “unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.”

Ryan said he wasn’t sure how many votes the debt plan would get on Friday, but predicted there would be no lame-duck vote.

“The original idea was a vote in the lame-duck. That is not going to happen,” said Ryan, who argued it is not possible to draft and pass legislation based on the plan this month.

“Even if you get 14 I don’t know if it will get a vote anyway,” he said.

Ryan had already signaled his opposition to the plan on Wednesday when it was released.

He did say he would look to incorporate some of the plan’s tax and budget process ideas into future legislation, including placing caps on discretionary spending that could only be overturned by a supermajority vote.

He also praised the direction of the commission’s tax reform, which would eliminate tax expenditures while lowering individual rates.

Ryan approves of some of the plan’s changes to Social Security, but said he would like to see personal accounts offered under the program. The chairmen’s proposal would gradually lift the age of eligibility for Social Security.

Jason Millman contributed to this story. 

This story was updated at 11:08 a.m.