Politics

Missouri Senate Candidates Battle It Out Over Health Care

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
When Missouri Senate candidates — incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and challenger Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley — squared off on the debate stage Thursday, health care was the hottest of the hot topics.
When asked whether he agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that Social Security and Medicare are the leading drivers of the deficit, Hawley came out swinging against McCaskill and Obamacare. “Senator McCaskill cut Medicare to fund Obamacare. That should be the first thing to go.”
Given the same question, McCaskill blamed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 for the increase in the deficit. She turned the question back on Hawley, saying, “The Republican Party loves to talk about debt and deficit until they’re in charge.”
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill makes a point during an October 18 Senate debate with Republican challenger Josh Hawley. Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill makes a point during an October 18 Senate debate with Republican challenger Josh Hawley. Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio

McCaskill also argued that she hadn’t voted to cut Medicare but had simply voted to redistribute those funds — over $700 billion — to “fill the donut hole in Medicare Part D coverage.”
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill meet on stage at Thursday night's Senate debate in St. Louis. Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on stage at Thursday night’s Senate debate in St. Louis. Carolina Hidalgo/St. Louis Public Radio

Hawley did not let it go, firing back, “Only one person on this stage has ever voted to cut Medicare, and that is Senator McCaskill. She can characterize it, put as much lipstick on it as she wants, but that’s the truth … I just want to be absolutely clear on that.”
“The fact is that Senator McCaskill won’t support any plan to cover pre-existing conditions that isn’t Obamacare,” Hawley continued. “I do not think people should have to be held hostage to the failed experiment that is Obamacare.”
McCaskill all but threw up her hands, raising her voice. “This is so frustrating,” she exclaimed. “He has no plan. He has no plan that will work.”
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