On a conference call with Tea Party activists last night, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said she dreams of the day when Medicare will no longer be needed.
Bachmann told the Tea Party Patriots “tele-forum,” which featured most of the Republican presidential candidates, that she wants to create a new health care system in which individuals buy their own insurance, instead of getting it through their employers or the government. “People will own their own health plan and I imagine that people will continue to own them even after they turn 65, so they won’t need to go on Medicare.” (Medicare is of course owned by workers because they pay into it.)
The comment is reminiscent of what Bachmann told ThinkProgress last year on Social Security: “Basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off.”
Bachmann also took aim at government regulation, going much further than many of her opponents by saying she would do away with every regulation possible. “As President, I’ll get rid of every regulation that is within my power to eliminate,” she said on the call. This would presumably include food and workplace safety regulations, consumer protections, and environmental rules, though she said she would replace some with new free-market regulations where needed.
No stranger to hyperbolic rhetoric, Bachmann suggested that the very existence of the country is on the line in 2012. “This is our last election,” Bachmann told the activists, “our last exit ramp.” Tea Party Patriots said 23,000 people participated in the tele-forum, which also included a straw poll. Newt Gingrich won the straw poll with 31 percent, but Bachmann made a surprisingly strong showing at 28 percent. Mitt Romney secured 20 percent.