Hoosier Republicans Voted to Kill Medicare

Starting in August, the GOP apparently – and suddenly – became stalwart defenders of Medicare. Republican chairman Michael Steele unveiled a new “Seniors Bill of Rights”, vowing to protect Medicare from cuts during the health reform debate. Indiana’s Mike Pence was at the forefront of this GOP push, urging his house colleagues to avoid

”harmful cuts” to Medicare that would ”result in millions of seniors losing their health coverage.” [1]

What Mike Pence hasn’t thought to mention lately is that in April 2009, he – along with fellow Hoosier Republicans Dan Burton and Steve Buyer – voted to kill Medicare. Not to cut its funding or to limit its benefits, but to end the Medicare program, leaving elderly Americans to the whims of Wall Street insurers.

In April, during the budget hearings, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced an “alternative” GOP budget document. This plan called for the elimination of Medicare and providing subsidies so that those 65 and older could buy a private insurance plan. In all, 137 Republicans were willing to vote for a budget that killed Medicare. (The only member of the Hoosier GOP delegation to vote against the bill was Mark Souder.)

Do Hoosiers actually believe that, in less than six months, Mike Pence has gone from wanting to kill Medicare to wanting to “protect” it from plans that would reduce waste and fraud? Of course not – we can see through his political opportunism in opposing Obama, even when it means opposing the positions he took just months earlier. But it’s still sad to see a Hoosier give in to beltway thinking.

(H/T to Matt Yglesias and Steve Benen)

Additional Sources:

[1] Stolberg, Sharyl Gay and David M. Herszenhorn. “TWO SIDES TAKE HEALTH DEBATE OUTSIDE CAPITAL.” New York Times, August 4, 2009.