Dick Armey: Medicare is ‘Tyranny,’ Seniors ‘Captured’ by It
August 17, 2009
(ChattahBox)—Appearing on Meet The Press on Sunday with David Gregory, former House majority leader Dick Armey, (R-TX) compared Medicare to “tyranny,” saying seniors were “captured” by it against their will.
Armey now heads Freedomworks, an Astroturf lobbying group that is leading the right-wing charge against health care reform and organizing protesters and disruptors to attend Democratic town hall meetings.
Since Armey left office, he has shilled extensively for corporate interests, including big oil and coal companies and now health insurance companies. Armey was invited on Meet The Press to advance the views of the anti-health care reform lobby and revealed his extreme views, shared by many anti-health reform and tea party groups.
Rachel Maddow, making a debut appearance on the program as a progressive voice, pinned Armey down and exposed his extreme views about Medicare and Social Security like no one else can. If people like Dick Armey had their way, Medicare and Social Security would be abolished, leaving senior Americans with the “freedom” and the “liberty” to live in poverty without health care.
Below are excerpts from Meet The Press transcripts:
REP. ARMEY: I’ve observed the last couple of weeks, seniors today are captured by Medicare. They have no choice, they can’t get out of it if they want to without being punished by the government. And it’s got $46 trillion worth of unfunded liability. They’re seeing the baby boomers coming in, they’re scared to death for themselves right now, and this bill says they’re going to cut Medicare by $500 billion. And the senior goes to a town hall meeting and he is frightened by this, and he says, “Leave your hands off my Medicare.”
MS. MADDOW: Do you really think that there’s a major uprising of seniors wanting to get out of Medicare? I know you’re suing the government for your right personally to get out of Medicare.
REP. ARMEY: Right.
MS. MADDOW: But do you really think that’s the problem…
MS. MADDOW: …that Medicare—that seniors hate Medicare and they want out?
REP. ARMEY: No, I didn’t say that. Most seniors—I was talking to my minister the other day. My minister says, “Dick, I’m so fortunate I’m in Medicare.” I said, “Bless you, my, my friend that you get to be in it if you choose to be so.” But if you give a government program and you let me choose to be in or choose to be out, that’s generosity. If you force me in, irrespective of my desires, that’s tyranny. Now, if Medicare’s $46 trillion in the red, with no idea how we’re going to pay for it, why, why do they not let people who don’t want to be in out?
REP. ARMEY: This, this, this defies logic.
MS. MADDOW: This is a really important point. The anti-healthcare reform lobby thinks that Medicare is tyranny, OK?
REP. ARMEY: I did—I said…
MS. MADDOW: This is an—I mean, you said in 1995 that “Medicare is a program I would have no part of in a free world.”
REP. ARMEY: Right. Absolutely right.
MS. MADDOW: You said in 2002, “We’re going to have to bite the bullet on Social Security and phase it out over a period of time.”
REP. ARMEY: …if you don’t sign up for Medicare you’ll lose your Social Security.
REP. ARMEY: Now, if—you tell me what, what, what that has to do with anybody’s notion of liberty…
MS. MADDOW: Tell me what that has to do with healthcare reform.
Armey is also a rabid global warming denier, recently suggesting that it doesn’t exist, because God wouldn’t allow it, calling it “eco-evangelical hysteria.”
Watch the Meet The Press Video from Politico: