Some fifty million Americans a year receive benefits from the Medicare program, one of the most important social support programs in our country today, making sure our retirees can live out their lives with good health and dignity. To the Republican Party and the Koch Brothers, however, it represents “entitlements” that the American people don’t deserve- and lost profits that they would rather have.
The so-called “third rail” of American politics, our people are very grateful for the support that the Medicare program provides for Americans over 65 and young people with disabilities, regardless of income or medical history. But in a surprise and little noticed speech at an Americans For Prosperity (the Koch Brothers-funded legislative terrorist organization) event in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush announced his intention to end Medicare:
But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something—because they’re not going to have anything.
It would appear that Scott Walker isn’t the only one sucking up for Koch money. The Koch Brothers and AFP have made it one of their primary goals to dismantle all public assistance programs and replace them with for-profit versions to sell back to the American people, and it’s an idea supported by many of the top 2016 GOP presidential wannabes. There’s lots of false talk and invented statistics about how “unsustainable” the program is- even though with the passage of Obamacare and the savings associated with that program, Medicare is now funded through the next thirty years.
Jeb Bush’s remarks highlight how much of a facade his “moderate” image is. Very quietly, Bush’s positions are drifting further and further right as the party line becomes more radical and bends over backwards to accommodate the Koch Brothers’ vision of turning America into hypercapitalist oligarchy.
Medicare is an entitlement, yes- because Americans who have worked hard their whole lives are entitled to some security and dignity when they choose to retire. They’ve earned it, and they deserve it. We cannot let the Republican Party destroy our public programs in the name of panicked appeals to fiscal austerity and doomsday falsehoods about the economic future of our country.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.