As Republicans across the country face a backlash from voters in their home in their districts for supporting the Medicare-ending GOP budget, Florida Rep. Allen West (R) has attempted to squash protesters and avoid tough questions at his town halls. In Ft. Lauderdale Tuesday, West only answered pre-screened questions that were read aloud by a staffer. In Boca Raton last night, protesters were removed from the town hall before it began.
But the preventive measures didn’t stop West from having to defend his vote last night, telling attendees that those who are fighting to save Medicare as we know it are putting the United States on a path toward destruction:
WEST: I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye.
Watch WPTV’s report:
Voters in West’s district have plenty to be angry about. In the past month, West voted against funding the government, thus risking a shutdown, announced that he was willing to hold the debt ceiling hostage over corporate tax breaks, and voted to end Medicare while extending tax breaks to the wealthy. Now, he’s accused Medicare beneficiaries, along with those who support the widely popular program, of contributing to the country’s downfall.
Unfortunately for West, facts tell a different story. The GOP budget attempts to save money not by curbing health costs, but by shifting those costs to senior citizens. The Congressional Budget Office found that most seniors would pay more for health care under the Republican plan, with 65-year-olds in 2022 paying double what a 65-year-old pays now. Meanwhile, ending Medicare as we know it would have an adverse effect on the nation’s health care costs, as the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that it would increase health care costs by $34 trillion over the next 75 years.
As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky reported, Republicans like West are following ideology instead of fact in their dismantling of Medicare. In 2009 and 2010, Republicans used scare tactics to drum up opposition to a health reform plan that actually will curb costs and expand access, the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, with voters targeting them, West and his Republican colleagues are using similar scare tactics to protect a plan that does just the opposite.