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

Armey says health care reform will kill innovation

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Fan of Common Sense

    Once again, good common sense wasted on an idiotic power-hungry government and a selfish, brain-dead electorate.

    November 9, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    So Dick there is no room for moderates in the GOP? You say you are for a return to the principals of the U.S Constitution of smaller Government, fiscal conservatism, and responsible individual rights to live their lives from Government interference.
    But then you say we need to escalate our war efforts, you say gays do NOT have the right to marry, you want to continue to have prohibition against drug use.
    Well does the conservative party what this to be a free country again or not? I say they do not they are just as bad as the Big brother liberals, come on Dick either you want what the founding fathers design or you do not, from your words I say NOT.

    November 9, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Mike

    I bet you have insurance, don't you....Dick.

    November 9, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. rk

    this coming from a state that has 24% uninsured;
    i'm tired of paying for Texas's patients with my higher premiums.
    Let them opt-out and pay for their citizens themselves.

    November 9, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. A. Smith

    Greetings Alexander,

    How typical for a Big Phrama republican puppet to state on behalf of the pharma giants, they'll lose money!

    With American senior citizens being gouged by the mega-profits by Big Pharma, their spokespersons (namely the Republican Party) are moaning and complaining.

    Canada and other country's quickly realized that putting skids to the mega profits of Big Pharma was in the best interests for their citizens and for the entire society living in there country's.

    For many years Big Pharma has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the Republic party and Republic lawmakers to insure Americans do not get any price curbs on their drugs that cost mere penny's to make and sell for thousands of dollars per monthly prescription to fill.

    Senior citizens should be outraged by Dick Armey's comments and the utter hypocrisy to which he represents.

    A. Smith

    November 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Sandra

    Health care profit before the nation's health? He's crazy.

    From a Canadian.

    November 9, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. A Southern Lady - Raleigh

    Mr. Armey will be one of the "responsible ones" if this country does not pass health care. Therefore, I suggest all Americans who are being forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills send these bills directly to Mr. Armey for payment. The Republican party fought Social Security, Medicare and now health care. Says a lot about how they feel about the average, non-rich, non-white, non-connected American citizen! Shameful

    November 9, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  8. MUFFY7

    What is loser, corrupt Armey doing making comments. Let him go hide behind a rock with Cheney. What a scumbag he is.

    November 9, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Laurie

    I see a FreedomWorks bus loaded with "real Americans" heading to the steps of the United States Senate with their Dachau death camps posters and Jon Voight in tow to speak to the crowds about the indoctrination of President Obama by Jerimah Wright. Hopefully the Republican Senators will show a little more intelligence and class in debating this issue than their cohorts in the House did with their "press conference/rally." The Republican House members have put a stamp of approval on this crazy behavior, clutching their copies of the United States Constitution. The House Minority Leader mistakenly quoting the Declaration of Independence, rather than the Constitution. It was a really sad statement on the Republican Party. Are these people really civilized? Shame on the Republicans, the Conseratives, and the Insurance Companies for encouraging and partaking in this crap! And by the way, thanks to Mr. Armey for helping the Democratic candidate in New York 23 win-it sure helped in passing the House health care bill.

    November 9, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Dick Armey says...

    If an aging body can't be sold for a profit, it's not worth saving. Let them die quickly and reduce the surplus population.

    Health insurance companies shouldn't be forced to insure individuals who have a family history of diseases like diabetes. If their not Aryan enough, they should not be covered. Sieg Heil fuhrer Beck.

    We call Reagan a fiscal conservative even though his administration produced enormous deficits. What do facts have to do with concepts and ideology? If facts can't be sold for a profit, they're not worth having.

    November 9, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Gary

    I would like to see Dick Armey go to St. Jude's Hospital or Children's nat'l Hospital in Washington and tell the parents of the children that "you heven't been responsible" because your child has cancer or leukemia. The GOP doesn't want any improvement in people's lives, just maintain the status quo for the rich, fat boy club.

    November 9, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Nina Smith

    If you weigh the benifits vs the drawbacks, it is the benifits that outshine all your hues and cries. This is our chance to exrtend Health care to all or at least the most, let us join together, irrespective of party and do pass this for the good of American people. Does this have to hit home for one of us to realize the importance of Universal Health care? Ours is the only develpoed country that does not have it. is the whole developed world crazy or are we? We are greedy but not crazy.

    November 9, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. 30 Year Veteran

    Or you stay in the military for 30 years thinking they're going to take care of you. Little did you understand that when you become age 65 you'd be kicked over to medicare. Of course you can be treated at the military base. but, what about the elderly of us who live at least over a hundred miles from any base or Veterans hospital. We have to rely on Medicare and tricare for life(Military). Now here is the gripe first there is very few Doctors who will accept medicare of course they will file on it for you after you've paid for services. But then medicare mails them the check that you never see. Now in the health bill they want to decrease benefits for the elderly plus raising our rates for medicare. (Medicare is not free. It is paid for by the receiver). To most elderly who live on Social Security alone who will not receive a simple cost of living this is the death penalty they were talking about. OH CHANGE IS GOOD. YOU GO OBAMA SUPPORTERS. LETS SEE WHAT YOU DO WHEN MOST OF THIS SINKS IN ON YOUR REARS THAT YOU TOO WILL HAVE A SHORTAGE OF WELFARE BENEFITS.

    November 9, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Ok, Dick, I see what you're saying, but, I think it's become glaringly obvious that NO part of healthcare should be run on a for-profit basis. These companies can be incentivized in other ways, and I completely disagree with you, and your buddies, that the answer to fixing our health care woes is to do NOTHING and allow a corrupt health insurance industry to continue to destroy us with their greed. Also, the fictional character you are referencing, the one who never wanted health insurance, drinks like a fish and eats like a pig, is someone I've never met. Does this person have a name?

    Your politics of hate, Dick, and your party's policies of pay the rich guy and screw everyone else, have become irrelevant in the 21st century. We're moving forward... you stay back there, Dick, I won't miss you.

    November 9, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Kurt from Canada

    "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.

    And here lies the black soul of the conservative movement.

    Get sick? Hurry up and die.

    That said, looks like Mr. Armey hasn't missed many meals.

    November 9, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Please stopr censoring...thx S Callahan

    Sounds like quotes from the Masons? Fear mongering.

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. brad

    This is the paradox. I am very much for an universal healthcare. Wondered though how it would affect the industry to create new drugs to help those in need. Guess we need to weigh what's more important. The welfare for most or just a few. At this point in time I will take my chance with most. I think we are seeing the damage that is being created with the current setup. Soon if left as is, it will only get worse. And just so you know, I do pay for my own insurance. Self employed so I pay more than most. Yet I feel that this is the right thing to do. The humane thing to do. Even if it hurts a little on the paycheck.

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. John

    Guess that makes all the inventions fromm NASA worthless. Armey is such a brain.

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Diane Portland OR

    So anyone sick should die because he thinks we eat like Pigs. Tell us what happens to a child who had been sick most of their lives when they get to old to be on their Parents Insurance. There is nothing in our system for them because they have pre-existing conditions and they have done nothing wrong. He thinks its ok to let them die so profits won't be hurt. This sickens me.

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. joc,alabama

    sounds like hurry up at die to me.....

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Jason

    "diabetes because they eat like a pig, you must now insure them"

    That sounds like something an insurance lobbyist would say. There is no doubt about that. Only a fool (or a person with an economic incentive) would assume that everyone who is diabetic eats like a pig.

    Of course people like him assume that any person that fails to follow the same exact moral code and lifestyle choices as him deserves to rot in the gutter. Funny, though, that he says this as his jowls are protruding.

    November 9, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. chuck

    Typical attitude from the GOP past and present "if we can't make a profit from peoples sufering then don't bother" I suppose Mr. Armey feels that everyone without insurance now are lazy, fat, and never took care of themselves, and therefore unworthy of health care. There are plenty with health care that lead unhealthy life styles should we toss them out of their health care plans? Oh I know lets insure only healthy people, deny coverage if the do get ill, and then the insurance company profits could rise unfettered. Of course the pharm. companies will take a hit but then sacrifices have to be made.

    November 9, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. robert diogenes

    GET THE FACTS BEHIND THE NEWS! Medicare the largest and best liked Health Plan is a gov't run plan.. Medicare has not stifled drug research. Why should the reform health plan? Other countries of the world have similar health plans and a flourishing drug and insurance industry..

    Change often causes fears and uncertainty. Critics are conjuring up all kinds of possible bad outcomes that will never come to pass. This will not solve the problems of everyone having access to good medical help that is affordable.

    November 9, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Craig

    Sure there are people that lead unhealthy lifestyles, and then there are those that get sick even though that make the right choices all along the way... it appears that Mr. Armey and his cohorts want to play god and decide who lives or dies... sounds like they already have a death panel ! it's Dick Armey !

    health insurance reform gives some of us a chance for life... and if the republicans want to really be the party of life they they should start right now with health insurance reform

    There are a lot of people that get ill even though they lead very healthy lifestyles: my mother never smoked in her life and got lung cancer, my brother was an athlete and got spinal cord cancer, my father was a WWII vet and worked in a chemical factory for 47 years and got Parkinson's disease. They are all dead now.

    November 9, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. not alone

    Another old white dude who gets big bucks from the lobbiest should just get out of the way for the needs of all Americans,becouse you do not have a clue what the real issues we are facing everyday becouse a lot of us can't afford health care and that number is only going to grow.Face the fact that we don't have jobs and not working as much and the status que is no longer working in favor for Amircans but only share holders and way over paid coe's and their boards.You get goverment health care and so do senors and I don't hear you complaining about your lack of coverage, So now do the citizens of this country a favor and do the job you was elected for and stop pandering to the special interest that pay for you campians.

    November 9, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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