Via Robert Costa at National Review Online's "health care vote" blog:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells NRO...
“There are some issues where Republicans say ‘just let [Democrats] vote for it, so we can get a political advantage and pick-up seats. This is not one of those cases. This is a moment where we really want to do everything we can to defeat this. We fear that if you turn on this new entitlement than it will be virtually impossible to turn it off. The earliest you could do anything to change this would be in 2013, if there is a new president and if Congress is controlled by Republicans. Those are a lot of ifs. We believe that this is a major moment for America in determining whether or not America slips down the path toward becoming a social-welfare state or whether we can reclaim the ‘American idea’— the principles of a free-market democracy that has sustained us for so long. We really believe that this is one of those moments. This is the biggest vote that Congress will have taken since 1965. It’s the biggest program Congress has created since 1965. And, this is, in many ways, all the marbles. We want to defeat this thing and I am more than happy to help a Blue Dog Democrat get re-elected if that means he or she votes against this bill. It’s more important to me to defeat this bill than to defeat a particular Democrat. This is bigger than a seat in Congress.”
“Congress historically underestimates the cost of these kinds of programs... I have no doubt in my mind that we’re creating a brand-new entitlement. That majority knows that... This bill, under whatever analysis you look at, all say that health-care premiums will go up. This bill will deprive choices for many Americans. It will encourage employers to dump their employee health-care programs...The rude awakening is coming. When the American people start losing their employer-sponsored health insurance, seeing the cost of their health-care premiums skyrocket, and losing their ability to shop freely in the market for health-care plans, it will be a real shocker to people once they realize the scale of this. They’ll realize all of this by 2010.” The Blue Dogs must know this, right? "That's what amazes me," says Ryan. "The Blue Dogs know this, they see it, they sense it, but Speaker Pelosi is very good at this. She's keeping them in town and she's surrounding them with people who tell them what they want to hear, saying things like 'you got to do this, it's good for the party,' 'the worst thing politically is to not do anything,' etc."
“The Democratic leaders here have been waiting their entire adult lives for a moment like this,” says Ryan. “This is a ‘destiny moment’ for them. This is a chance to fulfill their ideological ambitions. In a strange way, I respect it. I respect the fact that they had the courage of their convictions. The big problem I have with it is that their convictions are completely antithetical to the principles that built this country. They’re completely antithetical to the whole notion of free-market democracy that has made America the greatest, most exceptional country in the world. They’re determined to do this. It’s all about ideology. This is not about the best health policy, it’s about ideological conflicts.”