At a meeting Saturday with a Missouri Tea Party group, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) served up some factually challenged red meat:
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin said he has doubts about the constitutionality of Medicare and thinks global warming “is highly suspect.” [...]
Akin’s remarks questioning the constitutionality of Medicare came as he was explaining his vote against prescription coverage under the medical plan for seniors and people with disabilities. He said it was too expensive, and “it was expanding an entitlement I wasn’t too comfortable with to begin with.”
Asked about the remarks after the meeting, Akin said, “I don’t find in the Constitution that it is the job of the government to provide health care.”
Akin should take a moment to actually read the Constitution before he lectures anyone about what’s in it. Although the Constitution does not include the words “health care,” it does enable our elected leaders to raise revenue and to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” A national program ensuring when older Americans retire they do not impose crippling health costs upon their families easily fits within this grant of power.
For what it’s worth, Akin also claimed that Medicare cannot simply be repealed overnight “now [that] people have contributed their money to it,” but his actions reveal that he has every intention of eliminating this crucial program for America’s seniors. Akin — along with nearly every single one of his fellow House Republicans — voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare.
Moreover, Akin’s bizarre reading of the Constitution is increasingly common amongst his fellow Republicans. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) recently told a town hall meeting that protecting America’s “frail elderly” is “a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) mocked President Franklin Roosevelt for calling on the federal government to provide “a decent retirement plan” and “health care” because “the Constitution doesn’t give Congress any of those powers.” And GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry (R-TX) believes that everything from Medicare to Social Security to child labor laws to the minimum wage is unconstitutional.