November 9th, 2009
10:40 AM ET
11 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.

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soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. Michigan

    How does he sleep....

    November 9, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. andrew s. rostolder

    army is a knucklehead..... america is screaming for reform....70%... where does this nitwit and his band of wing nuts get off going against the wishes of the american people... he should be tried for treason...

    November 9, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. haren

    Does he have any proof?
    CNN why you give platform to this party of NO people?

    November 9, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Joshua College Station Texas

    Fear tactics.

    Anything to get health care reform to fail!

    For Republicans, it's not about health care, it's about political control. They just want to "break" the president. All their talking points are tactics, and they are NOT TRUE!

    November 9, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Russ

    Dick Armey is an idiot. No one in their right mind will listen to this guy. He's just another old white guy that has raped this country for his own profit and is afraid of losing his wealth at the hands of a younger generation. Heaven forbid at the hands of an African American. Go stick you head back in the sand.

    November 9, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. Wade

    And this is why we do not need government run health care.
    All the innovation and advances we have seen in medicine will stagnate.
    Some may never happen at all.

    Health care is a choice, not a right.
    Being fined for not buying health care insurances is unconstitutional.
    If this passes, I suspect the SCOTUS will have their hands full with all the lawsuits.

    November 9, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Dar

    If the Dems could barley get this pig of a bill to pass the house, the senete will eat it up as they should. there are to many democratic senators that do not want to lose their jobs come next election.
    I wonder what the lone republican got in return for his vote??? what a spineless little man.

    November 9, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Dana

    Where have we seen it? He quotes two men whose quotes were taken out of context no less- but even if they said that- where then is his example of whats something is incentivized NOT for profit do we see this imploding of our financial system...the post office?... Nope... ummm Public School system?...Nope
    I just want to know what exactly the "boogie man" of a public option will do to our country- other than REMOVE some power from these Corporate Insurance Carriers that have a monopoly over the American People...?? Furthermore why is there never a follow up question when these Republicans make blanket statements like that that sound something like "sir, can you provide an example of what you speak of when you say we have seen this time and time again"? God forbid journalists go the extra step for an actual story- fearing being labeled what a joke!

    November 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. FancySmiley from Conyers, GA

    How can individuals without insurance take responsibility for their failing health if they can't afford to see a physician? Eating right and exercising isn't always the solution. Preventative care is what the uninsured need. If they can take measures to prevent illnesses and control any illness from which they already suffer, then why not offer them basic insurance. I just don't understand how the richest nation in the world, one of the most advanced nations in the world can have as many uninsured, homeless and poor people living on their land. The US has one of the highest infant mortality rates but we're supposed to be the best. This is a case of the haves not wanting the have nots to have anything!

    November 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Bertina

    Armey is an idiot.

    November 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Brad

    Opening up more options will kill innovation? Really? Unlike the monopolistic health care system we have now right?

    The outstanding cost of health care is likely a contributing factor in why people don't have insurance and Mr. Armey talks about this as oh, they're not taking care of themselves so why should the government?

    He's not making a very persuasive argument, nor making any indication of a better plan.

    November 9, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. jane

    Armey is very opinionated for someone who has so little sociological insight.

    November 9, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Slider

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, one Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy.

    When he needed a cure and treatment for his life-threatening illness, he didn't go to any medical centers in Italy. He didn't go to the medical centers in Europe. He didn't go to Canada. Nor did he go to Cuba.


    He went to the Cleveland Center in Ohio.

    Now ask yourselves why...

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Barry

    More words of wisdomn from the GOP. I'm sure that all of those out there that have developed diabetes will be happy to learn that they develped it because they eat like pigs. Perhaps Mr. Armey needs to do a little research and he will find out that many folks develop diabetes and other ailments because his beloved pharmaceutical companies lie about the safety of drugs and present "studies" performed not by independent researchers but by researchers paid by pharma to come up with the result they want. Armey is just another GOP shill for the pharmaceutical industry. I wonder how much they are paying him for making this statement?

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Dana

    Oh and those banks ORDERED THEMSELVES to give loans to people who were not qualified and the Republicans are the ones who wrote the deregulations that allowed it... There was ALOT of profits made my mortgate brokers durring that time- once the red tape came down they wasted no time writing unqualified mortgages- give me a break!!

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Moosehead

    No health care reform will kill people.

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. victim of republican greed

    Armey's main concern is about the millions that he gets from the health insurance industry.

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Gary

    "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"
    It's comments like this that really push the average American away from the Republican Party. It's absurd, short-sighted, and shows the misunderstanding a person has of someone who economicaly not truly able to be "responsible with their own health" Go to the store compare price to eating healthy and eating poorly. See what you find...

    November 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I don't understand how anyone can be against improved Health Care. In the short term it will be expensive. But over time consider the money SAVED by addressing health problems early when they are treatable. It's what I call one dimensional thinking (aka STUPID)

    November 9, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Brian

    There is a lot of truth to this. The government is going down the exact same road as they did with housing. Loans were given to people who could not afford them and it was a critical step towards the housing market colapse.

    I seincerely hope this bill does not pass the Senate. This is more of a retaliatory strike than a solution to any problem

    November 9, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Al-NY,NY

    Hey Dick, "eat like a pig" eh? You sure look like one in this pic. Don't you think you'd better rephrase since you are basically insulting many of your own (doesn't Mississippi and some Southern "red"states have the highest obesity rates?) constituents with this stupid comment

    November 9, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. George Washington

    so then why was the bill passed ?

    November 9, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. Pepou

    NO PROFIT on my health Mr. Armey !

    November 9, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Barry

    FYI – FreedomWorks is closely tied to its founder, corporate lobbyist and former Republican Congressman Dick Armey, whose former lobbying firm DLA Piper that he resigned in August 2009, represents Bristol Myers Squibb, among other pharmaceutical companies.

    November 9, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Bugl3t

    Translated: Innovative ways to fleece the American public by insurance companies.

    November 9, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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