Seniors React to Tommy Thompson's Promise to "Do Away" with Medicare, Medicaid

Sep 26, 2012

Thompson VoucherCare Plan Will Stick it to Seniors

After a video surfaced this week of Tommy Thompson making comments to a Tea Party group promising to “do away” with Medicare and Medicaid, Thompson is now saying he wants to “reform” the programs with a plan to privatize medicare, replacing it with VoucherCare. Thompson’s plan provides billions in new profits to big insurance companies, and for seniors he offers a voucher instead of the guaranteed coverage they earned and paid for, sticking them with a $6000 increase in out-of-pocket costs.

Seniors from around the state and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate held a conference call with media earlier today to show how Thompson’s comments were made entirely in context. Remarks below:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate:

“We believe his statements were shocking.  The sentiments that Thompson expressed about Medicare—AND Medicaid—make him unfit to represent Wisconsin voters and in fact make him a danger to the economic security of Wisconsin’s seniors. Secretary Thompson has run a campaign in the shadows, where he has refused to release his federal and state tax returns, where he has dodged scrutiny from the press and where his public appearances suggest a witness protection program rather than a campaign for the United States Senate. Tomorrow, we will see the first debate between the candidates and we believe it’s incumbent on Tommy Thompson to explain JUST WHAT HE MEANT when he said he was just the guy to “DO AWAY” with Medicaid and Medicare-comments he NOW says were taken out-of-context.”

Dave Berge, 71, retired elementary school teacher from Wausau:

It’s been bad enough hearing that Tommy Thompson cut a sweetheart deal with pharmaceutical companies that literally CREATED the doughnut hole that he would try to re-open by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Now, this new video shows that he has every intention of ending the guarantee of Medicare by letting it wither on the vine. In this video that folks in Wisconsin are just seeing for the first time, Thompson says that it’s “impossible” to fix Medicare and that he’s just the right guy to end not just Medicare, but Medicaid as well. A lot of seniors rely on Medicaid as you know so it’s shocking to hear Tommy Thompson express those sentiments. Even though I disagreed with him in the past, I used to think that at the end of the day, Tommy Thompson had the best interests of the state of Wisconsin at heart. But that was a long time ago. Something has happened to Thompson and only someone who has been twisted and turned by Washington would think to say that he would “do away” with something as successful and as vital as Medicaid and Medicare. This video is proof that there is no question he has changed, and that he has changed for the worse.”

Joan Mills, 79, former councilwoman from Green Bay:

“In this video that we’re just seeing right now, we see Tommy Thompson playing a very cynical game, where he is counting on the public to throw their hands up in the air. In this video, Thompson spells out how he would end Medicare by turning it into a voucher program that would include no guarantees for seniors like myself, but would also increase out-of-pocket costs by thousands. He also wants to get rid of Medicaid, which seniors use to pay nursing home costs. This is what Tommy Thompson tells Tea Party groups when he doesn’t know the tape is running. Well, the tape will be running tomorrow night, Secretary Thompson, and we hope you will have the courage of your convictions and explain exactly why our health care choices should be put in the hands of the very health insurance companies that have made you a very rich man.”

Peter Cefalu, 64, retired truck driver from St. Francis:

“When I hear these comments from Tommy Thompson about Medicare and Medicaid, I am more convinced than ever that he doesn’t care about the average citizens of Wisconsin like myself. I have worked hard and have paid into the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Like most Wisconsinites, I’ve never asked for more than what I’ve owed and I believe that Medicare and Social Security are a promise we made together toward our seniors. Tommy Thompson wants to break that promise to our seniors and it doesn’t matter how he spins his comments. Nobody made Thompson say what he said. Tommy Thompson SAID he wants to “do away” with Medicare and Medicaid and I think the people of Wisconsin should take him at his word.”