One of the greatest subject lines I’ve seen on an e-mail this year – “HALLOWEEN COMES EARLY THIS YEAR: ROY BLUNT HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE DISGUISED AS MEDICARE SUPPORTER”

This is from a press release from the DSCC on Blunt’s zigzagging on Medicare. The full release is below the fold.

HALLOWEEN COMES EARLY THIS YEAR: ROY BLUNT HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE DISGUISED AS MEDICARE SUPPORTER

Just A Few Weeks Ago Roy Blunt Said Medicare Was A Mistake And Shouldn’t Exist – Yet Suddenly Today He Appears To Defend It

Congressman Blunt: It Would Be “Best” If Medicare and Medicaid Had Never Been Created

Today, Congressman Roy Blunt is holding a press conference in Washington DC to protest the Democratic plans for health care reform, which he falsely claims will results in cuts to Medicare.  Roy Blunt’s appearance at this event is laughable, for just this past summer Roy Blunt said it would have been “best” if Medicare had never been created in the first place.  Blunt has voted twenty-seven times to cut Medicare, a popular health care program for seniors, which provides quality health care to 828,154 senior citizens in Missouri alone.  No matter how much spinning Congressman Roy Blunt does, there is no escaping a long track-record of opposing Medicare and opposing any meaningful health care reform.  In fact, Congressman Roy Blunt, who is chairman of the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group, has admitted that his preferred solution to the health care crisis is to do absolutely nothing and has yet to produce an alternative health care bill, many months after promising to do so.

“Halloween isn’t for a few more weeks, but Roy Blunt is already disguising himself as a defender of Medicare,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Eric Schultz.  “Just this past summer, Roy Blunt turned his back on Missouri’s seniors when he said it would have been best if Medicare had never been created in the first place.  No amount of spin or false attacks can mask the fact that Roy Blunt has repeatedly voted to cut Medicare, a program that provides quality health care to over 800,000 Missourians.”

The Blunt Record on Medicare

Blunt is Ideologically Opposed to the Existence of Medicare

Blunt: Medicare Has “Never Done Anything to Make People More Healthy.” Blunt was caught on tape in Hannibal earlier this year saying that: “We’ve had Medicare since 1965, and Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy.” [YouTube]

Blunt Suggested Medicare Was a Mistake that “Distorts the Marketplace.” During a radio appearance on, Blunt suggested that government should never have gotten in the health care business, citing Medicare and Medicaid as examples of government intervening in the health care business “in a big way.” “You could certainly argue that government should have never gotten into the health care business,” Blunt said during an interview on 93.9 FM in Columbia.  “The government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare and later with Medicaid. And government already distorts the marketplace.”  [The Eagle 93.9, 7/10/09; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/10/09]

Blunt: Medicare and Medicaid Shouldn’t Exist.. During a radio appearance on, Blunt suggested that government should never have gotten in the health care business, citing Medicare and Medicaid as examples of government intervening in the health care business “in a big way.” HOST MIKE FERGUSON: What is the proper role of government, and what are the potential impacts of the direction that we’re going right now? BLUNT: Well, you could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace. Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace.” [The Eagle 93.9, 7/10/09; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/10/09]

·         Editorial: “Jarring” Blunt Comments Should Result In Close Scrutiny, Blunt and Republicans Advocate No Plan At All For Health Care Reform. “U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, on 93.9 FM, Columbia, made a jarring statement Friday about health care that could come back to haunt him during the 2010 senatorial race when he is expected to face off against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Blunt took issue during the interview with Medicare and Medicaid: “You could certainly argue that government should have never gotten into the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all to figure out how people could have had more access to the competitive marketplace. The government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare and later with Medicaid. And government already distorts the marketplace. A government competitor would drive all of the other competitors away. What we should be doing is creating more competition.” Blunt made the remarks to show his opposition to the health care plan offered by President Obama. The Democrats’ plan – a takeover of health care, Blunt calls it – certainly needs a full vetting, as does what Blunt and the Republicans advocate, which is no plan at all, The Kansas City Star stated. Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans have an answer to what is needed for health care, with hundreds of thousands of Missourians relying on Medicare and Medicaid, Blunt’s statement seems ill-advised politically. Many people, without the assistance of Medicare and Medicaid, would lack the money personally to cover their medical expenses. Concerning health care overall, without government in the marketplace, would providers work more cheaply? Would they, without the government making them do so, treat the poor? Blunt can argue the government made a mistake by getting into Medicare or Medicaid, but to think most Missourians going into the 2010 election would entertain that argument seems an even greater mistake for a candidate to make.” [The Daily Star Journal, Editorial, 7/14/09]

Blunt Voted to Replace Medicare with Voucher Program: In April, Blunt voted in favor of a GOP alternative budget plan that would have converted Medicare into a voucher system and forced seniors to buy private insurance on their own.  The AARP said the Republican plan “would be a complete revolution and would fundamentally change the character of Medicare.” [National Journal, 8/28/09; H Con Res 85, Vote #191, 4/2/09]

Blunt’s Votes Back Up His Commitment to Gutting Medicare

Blunt Twice Supported Cutting $6.4 Billion From Medicare. In 2006, Blunt voted in favor of the conference agreement to cut mandatory spending programs by $39.7 billion over the following five years. The measure cut Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $6.9 billion, including harmful increases in cost-sharing and premiums that impose large burdens on poor children and families. In addition, the bill cut $6.4 billion from Medicare in part by raising premiums for some Part B beneficiaries The measure did not touch a $5 billion HMO slush fund established by the 2003 Medicare bill, and after intense lobbying from the health insurance industry, the budget saved HMOs $22 billion dollars by maintaining Medicare reimbursement formulas that favored the industry. The conference agreement passed 216-214.  [House Budget Committee Minority Staff, “Key Provisions in the Conference Report on the Republican Spending Reconciliation Bill.” 12/19/05; CQ Today, 2/1/06; Washington Post, 2/1/06; HRS653, Vote 4, 2/01/06; Vote 670, 12/19/05]

Blunt Supported Budget Package that Cut Medicaid by $11 Billion. In 2005, Blunt voted in favor of final passage of a $49.9 billion budget  package pushed by House conservatives under the guise of offsetting the costs associated with Hurricane Katrina. Some of the “savings” in the bill were found by cutting $11.4 billion from Medicaid over five years. The bulk of the cuts – nearly $8 bi
llion – would fall directly on patients through higher co-pays, premiums and other provisions that cut benefits or delayed access to Medicaid coverage. The measure would also allow states to eliminate preventative health care guarantees for children – a move that could eliminate comprehensive health coverage for 6 million children. The bill passed 217-215.  [House Budget Committee Democrats, “Summary of House and Senate Reconciliation Bills,” 11/22/05; HR4241, Vote 601, 11/18/05]

Blunt Opposed Budget Plan that Protected Medicare and Reduced the Debt. In 2002, Blunt voted against an alternative budget proposal that would have trimmed the excessive tax cuts in the GOP plan and provided more funds to protect Medicare. It divided the projected $2.73 trillion surplus – outside Social Security and Medicare Hospital Insurance – into three equal shares of $910 billion. The first $910 billion is used for tax cuts – $713 billion for tax cuts over ten years, with the remainder for interest costs associated with those cuts. The second $910 billion went to program increases, again with $713 billion for the programs themselves and the rest for interest payments. Thus, of the projected ten-year surplus, the alternative plan consumed $1.82 trillion for tax cuts, program increases, and interest payments. By comparison, the GOP budget consumed $2.37 trillion. As a result, the alternative devoted $550 billion more to debt reduction than the GOP plan. [HCR 83, House Vote #69, 3/28/01; Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, “The Budget Plan Reported By The House Budget Committee: Some Key Aspects,” 3/30/01]

Blunt Twice Voted Against Efforts to Protect Medicare Funds and Guarantee Medicare Solvency. In 1999, Blunt twice voted against substitute amendments calling for a smaller tax cuts in an effort to shore up Social Security and Medicare and guarantee long-term Medicare solvency. Blunt voted against the Minge, D-Minn., substitute amendment on behalf of the Blue Dog Coalition that called for a smaller ($100.8 billion less than the resolution) tax-cut over five years. The substitute amendment also used debt reduction dividends to shore up Social Security and Medicare and allocated 25 percent of the on-budget surplus to fund defense, agriculture and veterans programs. Blunt also voted against the Spratt, D-S.C., substitute amendment that provides for no new net tax cuts or net new spending until legislation is enacted that addresses the solvency of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds. [HCR 68, House Vote #75, 3/25/99; HCR 68, House Vote #76, 3/25/99]

Blunt Opposed Temporary Health Care Premium Assistance, Expanded Medicaid Eligibility For People Involuntarily Terminated From Their Jobs. Rep. Blunt opposed the amended health insurance section of the economic stimulus package that provided temporary subsidies for COBRA premiums to people involuntarily terminated from their jobs. The approved change excluded persons with an annual income exceeding $1 million per year. The section also allowed State Medicaid programs the temporary option of covering unemployed individuals without health insurance and their families in cases where individuals had exhausted their unemployment benefits, individuals eligible for food stamps were ineligible for Medicaid, and individuals had a gross income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. [CQ Committee Coverage, House Energy and Commerce Committee, HR 629, 1/22/09]

Blunt’s First Act as Majority Leader: Pushed Budget Cut Package that Cut Medicaid by $11 Billion. In 2005, Blunt voted in favor of final passage of a $49.9 billion budget cut package pushed by House conservatives under the guise of offsetting the costs associated with Hurricane Katrina. Some of the “savings” in the bill were found by cutting $11.4 billion from Medicaid over five years. The bulk of the cuts – nearly $8 billion – would fall directly on patients through higher co-pays, premiums and other provisions that cut benefits or delayed access to Medicaid coverage. The measure would also allow states to eliminate preventative health care guarantees for children – a move that could eliminate comprehensive health coverage for 6 million children. The bill passed 217-215.  [House Budget Committee Democrats, “Summary of House and Senate Reconciliation Bills,” 11/22/05; HR4241, Vote 601, 11/18/05]

·         Blunt Called For Cuts In Medicaid Spending Growth. During a 2005 talk before the Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, “Rep. Roy Blunt said the country needs to cut the runaway growth of Medicaid by one-tenth of a percentage point.”That alone would save us $10 billion a year,” he explained.” [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, 8/6/05]