GOP Field on Medicare

 SOURCE: Correct the Record

Jeb Bush


Jeb Bush on Medicare: “We need to figure out a way to phase out this program.” “Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Wednesday that we ought to phase out Medicare, the federal program that provides health insurance to Americans once they’re 65. ‘We need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits,’ Bush said. ‘But we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.’” [Huffington Post, 7/23/15]



Jeb Bush: Medicare is an “entitlement” and “an actuarially unsound healthcare system.” “During a town hall meeting here Thursday afternoon, Jeb Bush was put on the defensive about his comments Wednesday night about ‘phasing out’ Medicare by an elderly woman who said she was worried about losing benefits she’s spent years paying for. ‘We’re not going to have adequate coverage for our children or our grandchildren without Medicare. I paid into that for years and years just like all these other seniors here and now you want to take it away?’ said the woman, who did not identify herself and left before the town hall concluded. ‘Why are you always attacking the seniors?’ ‘Well, I’m not,’ Bush responded. ‘Here’s what I said: I said we’re going to have to reform our entitlement system. We have to.’ ‘It’s not an entitlement,’ the woman shot back. ‘I earned that.’ ‘It’s an actuarially unsound healthcare system,’ said Bush, who said something must be done before the system burdens future generations with $50 billion of debt.” [Politico, 7/23/15]



Scott Walker


Scott Walker said that cutting “entitlement programs” like Medicare and Social Security is “something that has to be done.” “The governor said entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, are expanding the federal budget deficit. Cutting entitlements won’t hurt the economy, he said. ‘I don’t think that has a negative impact on the economy,’ he said. ‘Politically, it may be a challenge for some folks in this town, but it’s something that has to be done.’” [Bloomberg, 2/23/15]



Marco Rubio


Marco Rubio supported turning Medicare into a voucher system. “Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, the Florida Republican said he supports gradually raising the Social Security retirement age, which now sits at 67, for future beneficiaries, and embraced Rep. Paul Ryan’s push to transition Medicare into a ‘premium-support’ plan, where seniors would be given a voucher to buy insurance on the private market. ‘I propose we transition to a premium-support system, which would give seniors a generous but fixed amount of money with which to purchase health insurance from either Medicare or a private provider,’ Mr. Rubio said. ‘The choice would be theirs to make.’” [Washington Times, 5/13/14]


Marco Rubio claimed that Medicare and Social Security had “weakened us as a people.” “In another sign that Medicare and Social Security will continue to be major issues in political campaigning and ongoing deficit reduction talks, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has drawn flak this week from Democrats and retirement experts for his comments that such programs have ‘weakened us as a people.’ Democrats called Rubio ‘out of touch’ and ‘beholden to the extremist Tea Party’ for his comments in a speech Tuesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/25/11]



Ben Carson


Ben Carson said he would eliminate Medicare. “Dr. Carson also advocates an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Most people could pay most of their medical bills through health savings accounts, he said in his office. He would eliminate Medicaid and Medicare, and for the poor, government would make the contributions to their health accounts.” [New York Times, 3/20/13]



Rand Paul


Rand Paul introduced legislation “that would end traditional Medicare.” “A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress. The ‘Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act’ would allow seniors to choose from the array of plans currently offered to the four million federal employees and their dependents in the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, starting in 2014. It would also gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 70 over a 20-year period. The bill was introduced Thursday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint are co-sponsors, along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).” [The Hill, 3/15/12]



Chris Christie


Chris Christie called for an increase in the Medicare retirement age. “The New Jersey governor, in a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, called for means testing Social Security, raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 and gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67 by the year 2040.” [WMUR Manchester, 4/14/15]



Rick Perry


Rick Perry suggested that Medicare was unconstitutional and a “Ponzi scheme.” “Perry, who referred to the justices as ‘nine oligarchs in robes,’ said he was not convinced that Social Security and Medicare were constitutional. ‘I don’t think our Founding Fathers, when they were putting the term ‘general welfare’ in there, were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of healthcare,’ he said in a book interview with Newsweek last fall. ‘Whether it’s Social Security, whether it’s Medicaid, whether it’s Medicare … they’re bankrupt. They’re a Ponzi scheme. I challenge anybody to stand up and defend the Social Security program that we have today.’” [Los Angeles Times, 8/23/11]



07.27.15 | permalink

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