Exactly nine weeks since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled his plan to end Medicare, Sarah Steelman still won't come clean with Missouri voters about her support for the proposal. Since its introduction on April 5, the Ryan Plan to end Medicare has become one of the most hotly-debated issues in the country, yet Steelman’s silence on the issue has been deafening. Nearly one million Missouri seniors rely on Medicare.
“Rather than trying to tap dance around her support for Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare, Sarah Steelman owes it to Missouri voters to make her position explicitly clear,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “Ryan's Medicare scheme is wildly unpopular among voters, and with good reason: it ends Medicare as we know it. Unfortunately for Sarah, taking a clear position on this issue is a lose-lose proposition. Either Sarah Steelman wants to take away Medicare from the one million Missouri seniors who rely on it, or she’s putting herself in a position to be immediately disqualified from the Republican primary."
Steelman’s own advisor, Rick Wilson, has gone so far as to say, “This has become a litmus test with Republican voters. You're either on the Marco Rubio/Paul Ryan side or the Harry Reid/Barack Obama side." [Palm Beach Post, 5/29/11]
Steelman’s primary opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, has been an outspoken supporter of Ryan’s plan to end Medicare.
STEELMAN’S MEDICARE SASHAY
In a recent interview with KCMO’s Gregg Knapp, Steelman danced her way around an actual position on Ryan’s plan to end Medicare:
Knapp: Are you a supporter of what Paul Ryan has put forward? What do you think we need to do to go after Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to make sure it doesn’t destroy us?
Steelman: “I think there are some good things in the Ryan plan, and I really commend him for coming forward and putting a proposal out that people can discuss. Because it took courage to do that, and you do not see the Democrats doing that. You don’t see anybody in the senate coming forward with any kind of plan. This is supposed to be the most deliberative body in the world, and they have not put anything out.
“There are things in this plan that I like. I definitely like the tax reform approach of flattening the tax, and getting rid of a lot of the unnecessary paperwork, and you know looking at deductions and subsidies…If we don’t do something like that to get our economy going again, we are going to continue to have these high rates of unemployment and businesses are not going to be creating jobs because of all of the uncertainty in the tax code. For example Obamacare, you know I hear that a lot…
“Back to Ryan's plan… I think there are other areas that I am still looking at in his plan…the Medicare. I don’t like the fact that he actually included the $500 billion tax…uh or, excuse me, cut from Medicare that was in Obamacare in the plan because again that encroaches upon commitments that we have today. I think it’s important for people to understand that we need to protect what our commitments are today and honor those and look at look at how we can reform these programs in the future. Because these people did pay into Medicare.” [KCMO, 5/23/11]