Republicans and their defenders have claimed that the GOP’s massive proposed cuts to the nation’s health care safety net will not eliminate Medicare or Medicaid. The Romney campaign even released talking points claiming GOP proposals would “strengthen Medicare” shortly after they announced that Paul Ryan, the author of a 2011 plan to phase out Medicare, would be the vice presidential candidate. Yet, in a speech last May to a conservative group, former Bush Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R-WI) appeared to admit that the GOP’s proposals have a far more nefarious purpose:
[W]ho better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare? Let’s block-grant what the state has, and allow the states to determine what’s going to go into Medicaid. And Medicare, let’s wait until everyone that right now is under 55 reaches 55 by age [sic] 2020, and give them a choice whether they want to purchase health insurance with a subsidy from the federal government, or stay on Medicare.