Mike Haridopolos, the current state senate president in Florida who is running for the Republican nomination for US Senate, has staked out a unique position on Medicare when the general consensus in conservative groups is that reform needs to happen sooner rather than later.
“Medicare is not a welfare program,” Haridopolos said in a media interview with the Weekly Standard Tuesday, adding that reform should take place closer to 2035 for people who “have 25 years to prepare.”
“It is a program that each one of us at this table will have paid 47 years of taxes for, and I’m a little reluctant to make that full jump,” Haridopolos added.
The Senate candidate has already made it clear he would not vote for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal in its current form because it lacks protection for seniors.
“Fighting for seniors is not new to me,” said Haridopolos in a statement. “One of the main reasons I fought ObamaCare, including passing Florida’s Health Care Freedom Act, is because of the devastating cuts it dealt to Seniors, cutting $500 billion from Medicare to fund ObamaCare-Welfare programs.”
A Medicare Trustees report released in May, however, predicted that funding for the program would run out in 2024. The report also revealed that Medicare is currently running at a $32 billion cash-flow deficit, with more than 45 percent of its funding coming from the general revenue fund rather than the payroll tax.
When asked why he would put off Medicare reform given its financial instability, Haridopolos simply said, “I think it’s fair to say that the economy will grow,” adding that the federal government is going to “have to look at other areas” for spending cuts.
UPDATE: When contacted by The Daily Caller, Tim Baker, spokesperson for Haridopolos, said ” We are basing our assumptions on the very same assumptions [Paul] Ryan’s plan is running on. Ryan believes, as we do, that the economy will pick up, which accounts for why he delays reform for Medicare.”
“We delay it only a bit longer believing that Medicare is such a huge part of the health sector, we need to give people more time,” Baker added.