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. Black Viper

    What is his first name again?
    I am not supprised. We have seen the political productivity of leaders with that sort of first name. They end up with no credibility

    November 9, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Aunt Bea and Opie

    If you believe anyone from Texas now you need a checkup from the neck up.We have had enough lies from Texans.

    November 9, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Drew

    If you are so against everyone having health care, why don't you ask people to give up medicare and medicaid. These two programs are government funded and also ask for a little help to keep the program going. Also, if the senior citizens are smarter than an eight grader they will know that health care will not kill them but the stupid people that is not smart will brain wash them to beieve it will. People get a grip and let's stop taking care of some of the people who have the money to buy affordable health care but choose not to because they want to keep their money to themselves until they get sick and then it is on the people who have health care see their premium rise to cover they butts.

    November 9, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Alex Winter

    Hooray for the healthcare bill which will totally bankrupt us as a nation and entice millions more illegal immigrants to overrun our resources!!

    November 9, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. tommygunn

    For some reason Dick looks like a person that LOVES getting RICH on OTHERS MISFORTUNE.....just look at his S...Eating grin.....

    As much as I want to be a REPUBLICAN again, everytime I see and hear this type of rhetoric....I remain INDEPENDENT with a more "liberal" view than I like....


    November 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Barbara

    I live in N.Y. District 23 where we just elected Democrat Bill Owens; the first Democrat in over one hundred years thanks to Dick Armey and his ill-informed, out-of-touch with real people conservative sidekicks.
    People-real people-need this Health Insurance Bill to Pass-and Pass now. His garbage did not win us over way up here in the North Country and it should be looked upon as a lesson in how out of touch these wingnuts are with real, hard-working Americans. Pass that Bill!

    November 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. JF

    DICK ARMEY need we say more?

    November 9, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Anything is better than nothing..

    I will sacrifice our current innovation for a better ranking in our health care system against other countries...

    November 9, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. Jim

    Mr. Armey, your name suits you. I am a life-long diabetic, juvenile on-set when I was 2. I have, in the past, been declined health care coverage due to my diabetes. You have NO IDEA what you are talking about, only how much money the insurance lobby puts in your pocket.

    Not all diabetics are so because they eat like pigs. It's this kind of mis-information that makes your party the butt of jokes and the subject of real fright. Fright because you fill people's heads with lies to get what you want. Go stuff yourself.

    November 9, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. GaryB

    I think Armey needs to put his money where his mouth is. He needs to opt out of the government funded healthcare system that's provided coverage for him and his family nearly all his adult life and see just how expensive it is for a man of his age to purchase health insurance coverage (if, indeed any one would be willing to sell him health insurance coverage). In fact, I think that would be the honorable thing to do for any politician who opposes a public option. Of course, I don't see too many Republicans doign that.

    November 9, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. DJ

    lies, lies, lies and more lies...again this guy spins the facts around and spreads myths to promote his is call and OPTION and private insurance would still be used by the overwhelming majority via workplace benefitls

    November 9, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Gary Karasik

    The problem with these bombastic Republican "leaders" is that they don't know anything and they don't care that they don't know anything. Facts are important only as they fit into preconceived, Conservican notions. And if there are no facts to fit your immediate point, then, hell, make one up. This is well-illustrated here. It simply won't matter to Dick Armey that Shakespeare never said anything of the sort. Now maybe Armey is referring to Samuel Johnson, who said, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." Take a moment to inform Mr. Armey of this, and I'll bet a bundle that rather than be embarrassed about displaying his ignorance, he'll shrug and say, "Well, what's important is my larger point." But of course, if your larger point is illuslrated by an incorrect fact, then your larger point is liable to be incorrect.

    November 9, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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