During the fourth and final debate between incumbent Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and his Democratic challenger, Tammy Duckworth, the Republican Congressman openly admitted that he and his GOP colleagues want to “end Medicare as we know it.”
Walsh defended the Romney/Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, which would provide retirees with a depreciating premium support credit to purchase private insurance or traditional Medicare. Duckworth pointed out that Obamacare reforms extend the solvency of the Medicare program by a decade — and reminded Walsh of his unabashed support for Paul Ryan’s budget, which guts the core Medicare entitlement. And Walsh admitted that Duckworth’s assessment of Ryan’s plan was right:
DUCKWORTH: [Congressman Walsh] voted three times for the Ryan budget which will end Medicare as we know it. That is not my comment — that is the Wall Street Journal that says it will end Medicare as we know it. He wants to put seniors the street with a voucher. And he wants to go even further than the Ryan budget. He wants to eliminate the prescription drug benefit. Do you think that’s going to save Medicare? You want seniors to pay more for Medicare? You want seniors to pay more for prescription drugs? That’s not a single senior has come up to me and said that.
EDDIE ARRUZA (MODERATOR): Quickly, Mr. Walsh, respond.
WALSH: Ms. Duckworth says end Medicare as we know it. What the Chicago Tribune and every other responsible person has said if we don’t end it as it is, it’s going end all by itself — we won’t preserve it for future generations. We have to do that.
Wary of public backlash and the overwhelming popularity Medicare enjoys, Republican candidates across the country — including the Romney/Ryan ticket — describe their proposal as a way to strengthen Medicare for future generations. Last night, Walsh publicly confirmed that it is actually a fundamental restructuring of the entitlement and a raw deal for seniors.