"Medicare Defender Michael Steele Says Medicare ‘Is A Very Good Example Of What We Should Not Have’"
Yesterday, the Republican National Committee announced a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights,” in which they announced that they would “protect Medicare.” “We want to make sure that we are not cutting the Medicare program,” said RNC Chairman Michael Steele on ABC’s Good Morning America.
But on Fox and Friends this morning, Steele undermined his new argument that Medicare is a sacrosanct program that must be protected by calling it “a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care.” Asked to respond to Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) argument that “if you like Medicare and you don’t want to make any cuts to it, then you’re basically defending a single payer system,” Steele launched into an attack on the program, implying that it would be better if it were privatized:
STEELE: It’s, you know, God bless the congressman, but look the bottom line is, raiding an already bankrupt program to pay for a program we can’t afford is not good public policy. And that’s exactly what they’re doing with respect to Medicare, number one. Number two, you know, with all due respect to the congressman, I mean, he’s just flat out wrong on the facts.
I mean the reality of it is that, you know, this single payer program known as Medicare is a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care. The reality of it is, how may times have we been at the trough of bankruptcy and no money for the Medicare program when Congress is running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to figure out how to fix a program that they’ve already mismanaged.
So, now you want to do that Congressman on a larger scale? You want to include all of us? You’re talking, taking our senior population and now expanding it to the broader population? Government cannot run a health care system. They’ve already shown that. Trust the private markets to do it the right way. If there are reforms to be put in place, let’s deal specifically with those reforms.
As ThinkProgress noted yesterday, Steele and the RNC’s recent aversion to finding cost-savings in Medicare is inconsistent with their past support for making cuts to the program. With his Fox News appearance today, Steele demonstrated just how hollow his change of heart has been.