November 9th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
4 years ago

Armey says health care reform will kill innovation

Armey says the health care reform bill will stifle innovation.
Armey says the health care reform bill will stifle innovation.

(CNN) - Dick Armey, the former House majority leader whose leadership of FreedomWorks has proved vital to organizing opposition to Democrats' health care reform efforts, told CNN Monday the recently-passed House health care bill could cripple the entire pharmaceutical industry.

"You go right back to Shakespeare, who first said, 'If it can't be sold for a profit, it's not worth writing,' or take Thomas Edison's reiteration of it, 'If it can't be sold for a profit, it's not worth inventing,'" Armey told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning. "If the government is going to control what it is, whether it can be distributed, what it is, what price it can be sold, you will disincentive the whole process of research. We've seen it before and we'll see it again."

The Texas Republican also said the government should not force health insurance companies to insure individuals who have not been responsible with their own health.

"Now [the government] comes along and says, 'Irrespective of the fact they've gone 20, 30, 40 years of their adult life without ever having bought insurance prior to getting a liver inflammation due to their excessive drinking habits or diabetes because they eat like a pig, you must now insure them,'" Armey said.

"At what point do we allow the government to order people that you must sell your product to this person or that person, irrespective of any good judgment?" he added. "We saw what happened in housing when they ordered banks to make loans to people who weren't qualified. Are we now going to have the same destructive influences in health care because we're going to order doctors to provide services and so forth?"

Armey also addressed the future of the Republican Party in light of events in a special congressional election in New York, in which conservatives pushed out the Republican running in favor of a more conservative third-party candidate. Ultimately, a Democrat carried the district, the first time in more than 125 years the party has won there.

Armey, who backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, drew local headlines himself in that race after blasting an editorial board's questions on upstate New York issues - questions Hoffman had struggled to answer - as "parochial."

"The Conservative Party nominated the small government conservative, he got in the race late and he caught and passed her," Armey said Monday. "She dropped out, endorsed the Democrat. If the Republican Party or if the Conservative candidate had a little more time, he might have won that.

"But the Republican Party's got to decide whether or not they're going to be the 'me too' party, somewhat schizophrenic, half the party acting like us, the other half acting like them. Or are they going to be the big tent party that builds themselves around a national concept of small governance, fiscal conservatism, and has a broad appeal, as it did with Goldwater, as it did with Reagan," he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. dianne, nc

    What a jerk! He has no right to judge. I suppose he would rather those people die than give them the care they need. I suppose he would say it serves them right. I hope he doesn't call himself a Christian, because no Christian would say that about someone! Yes, I am working, and yes, I am already insured by my employer, but really...everyone deserves to get health care. The preexisting condition thing is what is hurting a lot of people. A lot of people are not working...and that's not because they choose not to work! These days it's really hard to find work. They still deserve health care. We are the richest country in the world and we still can't take care of our own? Hmph! What does that tell the rest of the world?

    November 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Terry from West Texas

    Dick Armey, former Texas Congressman, is like other members of the Republican party elected by my fellow Texans: he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. No matter, of course, since it only takes about 15 minutes to learn everything that any Conservative has said since 1932. All you have to do is repeat those same 12 sentences over and over and over and over and ...

    I'm for taking a chance on this bill. As Franklin Roosevelt said, "We must do something. If it doesn't work out, we can modify it as we go along." Let's pass the best bill that the timid Democrats can come up with. Then, year by year, we can fix anything that doesn't work like we think it should.

    I trust my federal government and my president a lot more than I trust my health insurance company, the CEO of my health insurance company, and Dick Armey.

    November 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    Wow. Do we really believe that money determines the true value of everything? Seriously. Was the Bible written to make a profit? What about penicillin?

    November 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. g

    this guy knows nothing about diabetes am not diabetic but have family members that are they never ate like pigs, i know a 6 year old that was diagosed she was not over weight or ate like a pig

    November 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Laurie

    The sad aspect of health reform is that it should never be a political agenda! Reform should be what is best for American citizens not based on what is the best way for a party to line their pockets and definately not what is in the best interst of special interest...

    If everyone actually read the bill that was passed...and understand the impacts of this bill.... We would understand that this "reform" is going to be worse than what we already have....which is why there is the exemption clause for those that actually pushing the bill.

    People are not parties...not an agenda....and government has never proven to be a solution. Rather...they are the problem!

    November 9, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. cel

    I am so sick and tired of 'the party of no', predicting doom and gloom whenever something is done to benefit We The People. And then, on top of predicting it, they set out to make it happen. Why can't
    Republicans work for the people instead of for the corporations and businesses ? It's not all about profit, it's about having the greatest country in the world. One where everyone has a chance to achieve their dreams. Not just the wealthy, the bankers ,the politicians and insurers, but everyone.

    November 9, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Melissa

    What a load of utter fear mongering childish crap the GOP are telling.

    November 9, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. k

    Irrespective of the fact that this is a petty and largely baseless argument, Armey is quickly undermined byt he fact that this type of Healthcare WORKS in many other countries.

    For him to insenuate that those without Healthcare have done nothing to acquirte it and are largely alcoholics or obese, is not only outrageous, but also typical of what we have heard and read from his cohorts who want you to believe only the "bad people" are without insurance.

    Let's stop playing capitalism with people's HEALTH and LIVES, and do some good for everybody.

    November 9, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  9. Adam in TX

    yeah... it's easy for an overweight politician with superb health care to criticize people for making "poor health choices." Gotta love Republican leadership... They really do have the peoples' interests in mind.

    November 9, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. me and mr b, oak harbor WA

    Democrats health care plan is very destructive. we already have undocumented aliens covered under 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, indigent folk with AIDS healthcare is paid for by taxpayers and now the Democrats have a wonderful plan that taxes the 'rich' and cuts healthcare for seniors, and folks unable to afford insurance will be subsidized and insurance companies cannot deny health insurance for 'preexisting' condititions who will then pass on the cost to all others. how can this be considered a plus with so many negatives?

    November 9, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. anthony

    Typical old white man.

    November 9, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Kevin

    Is this idiot serious, with his statement that the government should not force health insurance companies to insure individuals who have not been responsible with their own health. Um Mr. IDIOT, if they had health insurance they could prevent the illnesses they have.

    November 9, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Jonathan Koontz

    All we need to know is this: How much money has Dick Armey received from the health care lobby this past year? In fact, that is the only question that any republican should be asked. If it's anything more than 50 cents, how can they possibly have any credibility with the American public while slamming reform? They say the insurance companies will be unable to compete against the gov't plan...and I ask, "unable", or "unwilling"? I think they will be able to compete, but it may take the insurance companies coming to the stark realization that it may not be necessary to employ some guy as their CEO and pay him 11.9 million dollars a year.

    November 9, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    Health care reform will introduce real competition into the insurance marketplace – he knows that and is afraid of it.

    People will be able to CHOOSE their health care insurance – and choice is a cornerstone of capitalism.

    November 9, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. victim of republican greed

    According to this Dick, a person who has a heart attack or has been in a car accident has not been responsible for his own health.

    November 9, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. kim

    Just keep talking Dick, democrats are beginning to look even better. this guy sounds like a raving lunatic.

    November 9, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. Dustin Offutt

    Good thing the hippocratic oath does not mention profit. I do not think profit has been the driving force in medicine for most of history and profit driven medicine leads to maintenance drugs not cures. Cured people aren't hooked they don't come back for more.

    November 9, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. victim of republican greed

    Dick also wants Social Security eliminated. He is the lowest form of republican life.

    November 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. Kalli Swanson

    OMG. This is disgusting. What a judgemental elites. These guys have no idea how the real world lives.

    November 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. Gina Noble

    Mr. Armey,

    Many Americans don't eat like pigs but still have diabetes. Shame on you. If I lose my job tomorrow, I won't be able to find health insurance because I have diabetes. I've worked for 25 years...but I worry about what if...do I deserve to go bankrupt because of a health condition and insurance companies that won't touch me? I think now.

    BTW, which insurance company is paying you or one of your family members? You are shameful!

    November 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. southerncousin

    Armey is of course is right. Did you all see the picture of that botox laden snake Pelosi, smiling that fakey smile of hers. Can't wait to see her in tears in 2010. Obama one and done, all liberals out for decades starting 2010. They have just committed the biggest single robbery in history. Liars and thieves.

    November 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  22. Bridget

    Riddle me this, Dick Armey: Do all government employees take care of their health? Why do folks in Congress who smoke, those who don't exercise, those who eat poorly, why do they deserve insurance more than someone who does not get a government paycheck?

    November 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    "Irrespective of the fact they've gone 20, 30, 40 years of their adult life without ever having bought insurance prior to getting a liver inflammation due to their excessive drinking habits or diabetes because they eat like a pig, you must now insure them."

    What about every healthy, hardworking American who has lost their health insurance because they lost their job? Or gave birth to a child with special needs? Or just happened to grow old and develop Alzheimer's? Or lost their house because they got cancer?

    What about THOSE people, Dick?

    YOU, sir, are the pig in this equation!

    November 9, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Tom Kociemba

    This is the same Dick Armory who said he was going to opt out of Medicare. Unfortunately he has so many preexisting condition he cannot. get insurance. He didn't know that. The new Republican plan would not cover preexisting conditions either. According to the CBO the Republican plan would leave more people uninsured and in bankruptcy. Perhaps we should put preexisting conditions on Wall Street method of moving money around for that is the God he genuflects to. And he want us to follow his health care words of wisdom to solve our problems.

    November 9, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Buckhorn

    This man does not know what he is talking about. Obviously, he just rants for the sake of keeping his name in the news. I worked for the largest generic drug company in Canada and our drug firms are thriving under our Health Care coverage. I can't believe that people are being sold a bill of goods to disuade them from accepting universal coverage.
    I'm a Senior who pays $6.11 dispensing fee only on prescriptions and refills. The drugs, themselves, are covered under our Insurance coverage. Listen up people! Believe it`s possible!

    November 9, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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