By Ken Stone
Retired House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose political goals included slashing the costs of Social Security and Medicare, will speak in San Diego on Feb. 21.
His audience — about 1,500 people at the 2019 Spring Conference of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.
“As we embark on a new Congress, there are new players and dynamics that will shift the policy landscape,” NIC president and CEO Brian Jurutka said in a statement. “The seniors housing and care sector will be paying close attention to what Mr. Ryan has to say.”
The Republican, whose talk is among the first in his post-Congress career, is expected to share his views on entitlement and regulatory reform, the continued shift to private management of Medicare and Medicaid, and labor and immigration issues, including their impact on unemployment and wages, the group said Monday.
Attendees Feb. 20-22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront include decision-makers in seniors housing and skilled nursing, “as well as healthcare leaders who are exploring new partnership opportunities in the sector.”
Ryan — who turned 49 a week ago — will deliver keynote remarks and take part in a “fireside chat” with John Kelliher, managing director, Berkeley Resource Group and former chief counsel of the House Ways and Means Committee.
According to a news release, Kelliher will moderate a discussion featuring Republican and Democratic perspectives on Ryan’s comments.
The panel will feature Chris Jennings, who served at the White House in health policy under both President Obama and President Clinton, and Jennifer B. Young, who served as Assistant Secretary for Legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services as well as senior counselor to Secretary Mike Leavitt in the George H.W. Bush administration.
The discussion will cover what Americans can expect from a divided Congress and from the Trump Administration, in terms of further action on healthcare payment and delivery reform, and initiatives to address the housing and care needs of seniors.
Convention-goers will pay between $1,675 and $2,600, but discounts are offered “small providers of care/care management.”
Ryan won’t meet the press, however.
According to an event spokeswoman, “For the speech, audio and visual recording is not allowed and there will not be an opportunity for formal questions.”
Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate was the 54th speaker of the House from October 2015 to January 2019, the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years. First elected to Congress in 1998 at age 28, Ryan spent two decades representing Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.
Before becoming speaker, Ryan was chairman of the House Budget and Ways and Means committees.
In the wake of his April 2018 announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election, Ryan was rapped by a San Diego Union-Tribune editorial headlined “Good riddance, Paul Ryan?”
“Ryan’s bid to offer himself up as a Hubert Humphrey-style ‘happy warrior’ of American politics was never embraced by rank-and-file GOP lawmakers, who increasingly identify with the us vs. them politics of white conservative firebrand Pat Buchanan,” said the U-T.
“History is unlikely to forgive the alleged ‘budget hawk’ for accepting huge deficits driven by tax cuts that helped the already-rich far more than middle-income families. The warnings from sober economists that the U.S. is headed for a disastrous fiscal reckoning have never been as common.”
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