Breaking Health Care Research: A Response to the Critics of the Ryan Roadmap

Margot Crouch /

Deficit reduction is in vogue right now thanks to the recent efforts of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, but Representative Paul Ryan’s (R–WI) “Roadmap for America’s Future Act” started it all as the first proposal to offer comprehensive solutions to the nation’s pending fiscal crisis, balancing the budget and eliminating national debt while also fixing the health care system.

It took a long time for lawmakers and pundits to get to the thoughtful conversation on deficit reduction that the Roadmap was intended to provoke. Instead, the proposal was initially met largely with criticism. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the Roadmap “a fraud,” saying that “Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.” Representative Louise Slaughter (D–NY) accused Ryan of trying to “phase out Medicare,” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) lamented that the Roadmap “ends Medicare as we know it.”

In recent research, Heritage’s Robert Moffit and Kathryn Nix outline how these attacks misrepresent the solid policy ideas in the proposal. They write that Ryan’s plan is far from radical, comprised of numerous ideas for reform that have been embraced by those on both sides of the aisle—including members of the Obama Administration.

Moffit and Nix conclude:

Congressman Paul Ryan has produced a comprehensive proposal that would reform America’s entitlement programs, and transform and improve the financing and delivery of Americans’ health care. His proposal would reduce the deficit, put Medicare on a fiscally sustainable path, establish a long-awaited equity and efficiency in the federal tax treatment of health insurance, and improve the provision of health care for middle-class and low-income families, particularly those who today have no choice but to rely on a poorly performing Medicaid program, and will have even less choice tomorrow with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

To read more about the Roadmap, check out Moffit and Nix’s response to Ryan’s critics here.