GOP chairman: Varilek wrong on MedicareAs a friend and former colleague of Rep. Kristi Noem, I want to set the record straight and provide voters the unvarnished truth about our congresswoman’s record when it comes to issues important to our seniors.
By: Tim Rave, Guest columnist
Matt Varilek has only been campaigning for a few months and already has proven himself an expert at misleading voters. For proof, look no further than his April 17 column in The Daily Republic. Setting aside the blatant lies and scare tactics on display in his column, you will see there is little substance to Mr. Varilek or his candidacy.
As a friend and former colleague of Rep. Kristi Noem, I want to set the record straight and provide voters the unvarnished truth about our congresswoman’s record when it comes to issues important to our seniors.
Here are a few facts that Matt Varilek and his liberal friends in Washington don’t want you to know. Kristi Noem doesn’t want to “end Medicare as we know it.” This partisan talking point is so false that the folks at the non-partisan PolitiFact declared this statement to be 2011’s “Lie of the Year.”
Politicians who aren’t willing to reform Medicare are the biggest threat to the program.
Unless our leaders act, the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund will be out of money as soon as 2022. If that is allowed to happen, our seniors will not get all the benefits they’ve been promised.
Rep. Noem and other responsible leaders support a plan that not only would prevent Medicare from going bankrupt but would also ensure that the senior safety net is around for this and future generations. One very important distinction about the Republican proposal is that those who are at or near retirement will not see any changes in benefits — period.
Totally absent from candidate Varilek’s column was any mention of bipartisan support for this plan, including that of liberal Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who joined with Republicans to help save Medicare. He has warned those who share Mr. Varilek’s passion for inaction that leaders will have to make these reforms sooner or later and that it will be better for the country if we set aside the scare tactics and work together now to preserve Medicare for the long term.
As excitable as Mr. Varilek is about Medicare, his silence about his own party’s attempts to cut the program has been deafening.
Just a few short years ago, Democrats — including Varilek’s former boss Sen. Tim Johnson — voted to cut more than half a trillion dollars from Medicare to pay for the government takeover of healthcare now known as “Obamacare.”
Where was Varilek when Sen. Johnson voted to make those changes to Medicare? I don’t recall the young politico making any outrageous statements about the cuts to Medicare supported by Sen. Johnson or accusations that his boss’ actions are threatening seniors.
The Democratic Party’s dismal record of standing up for this program goes beyond Obamacare. Varilek’s allies in Washington have made no secret that they care more about winning elections through scare tactics than making sure our children and grandchildren have access to Medicare.
The budget put forward by House Democrats would allow Medicare to go bankrupt, virtually guaranteeing that seniors will see their benefits cut in the next decade. As reckless as this sounds, Matt Varilek has not called out his Democratic allies for their willful negligence.
Matt Varilek is a young politician; it’s a shame that he’s kicking off his career by lying to South Dakota seniors. If this is any sign of the campaign Matt Varilek and his Washington friends will run, South Dakotans better brace for an onslaught of false and negative attacks this fall.
Tim Rave is chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party and represents District 25 in the state Senate.