Hide and Seek: Brunner and Steelman Hiding on Medicare Privatization Scheme While Missouri Seniors Seek Answers

Akin Has Endorsed Reckless Budget Proposal, Brunner and Steelman Too Scared to Say Where they Stand 

Jefferson City, Mo.—As part of ongoing efforts to hide their support for privatizing Medicare, Senate candidates John Brunner and Sarah Steelman refuse to say how they would vote on the House budget proposal that would privatize Medicare while protecting $40 billion in tax breaks for oil companies. The House is expected to vote on the bill, which has the support of Todd Akin, later this week.

“If John Brunner and Sarah Steelman are too scared to vote yes or no, they're applying for the wrong job,” said Caitlin Legacki, Missouri Democratic Party spokeswoman. “The choice is clear: Steelman and Brunner can stand up for Missouri’s seniors or they can keep fighting to protect $40 billion in tax giveaways to oil companies.  Since they refuse to give a clear answer on this bill, it’s pretty clear Brunner and Steelman are once again turning their backs on Missouri seniors.”

After PoliticMo asked Steelman and Brunner how they would vote on the bill, Eli Yokley reported “neither would explicitly take a position for or against the proposal.” [PoliticMo, 3/28/12]

Under the new budget proposal, introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Medicare would be converted into a voucher program while also extending $40 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

Showing reckless disregard for Missouri seniors, the House Budget Proposal would:
  • Force more than 111,000 Missouri seniors back into the costly Medicare Part D donut hole
  • Increase out of pocket costs by nearly $6,000 for Missouri seniors
  • Cause 783,297 Missouri seniors to pay more for preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies, this year alone. [DPCC, 3/22/12] 
Akin, who has established himself as the most conservative candidate in the Senate primary, endorsed this latest Medicare privatization effort almost immediately. Meanwhile, Brunner and Steelman have refused to speak out against this dangerous proposal, offering a tacit endorsement, and recently voiced their support for privatizing Medicare.
 
Background:
 
Ryan's FY 2013 GOP Budget Plan Would Preserve $40 Billion in Tax Breaks for Oil and Gas Companies. "Yet it appears that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion." [Center for American Progress, 3/20/12; White House, 3/21/12]
  • Big 5 Oil Companies Made $137 Billion Profit While Receiving $20 Billion Government Handout in 2011. The Big 5 Oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell) made a combined $137 billion in profits in 2011--up 75% from 2010.  At the same time, the Big Oil companies enjoy over $20 billion in tax handouts from the federal government.  [Center for American Progress, 2/7/12; The Hill,10/18/11