(Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Jeb Bush tells attendees at Koch brothers event that it's time start "phasing out" Medicare

It's an easy enough suggestion to make when nobody in the audience would actually be affected by it


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 23, 2015 10:52PM (UTC)

At an event sponsored by the Koch brother's Americans for Prosperity Wednesday night, the allegedly moderate GOP presidential contender Jeb Bush made a decidedly radical statement -- that it was time to seriously consider "phasing out" Medicare.

"The left needs to join the conversation, but they haven’t," he began. "I mean, when [Representative Paul Ryan] came up with one of his proposals as it relates to Medicare, the first thing I saw was a TV ad of a guy that looked just like Paul Ryan [and he was] pushing an elderly person off the cliff in a wheelchair. That’s their response."

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"And I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this," Bush continued.

"I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits," he said, before delivering the kicker.

"But 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."

As MSNBC's Steve Benen noted, Bush's talking points are as untrue as they will be unpopular. Democrats have tried to dent the Medicare shortfall -- thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the safety net is fiscally sound until 2030 -- and polls undeniably demonstrate the program's popularity, making any plan to "phase it out" untenable for candidates who wish to win in the general election.

Of course, to win in the general election, Bush must first win the Republican primary -- although even that doesn't fully explain why he would stake such an extreme position. Although, given that he was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity-sponsored event, it's not as if anyone there is personally invested in the conversation.

Watch Jeb Bush deliver this advice below Via YouTube.

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Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Affordable Care Act Elections 2016 Jeb Bush Koch Brothers Medicare Obamacare Steve Benen Video

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