Harwood: Now, a third Texas president, L.B.J., created Medicare in the mid-'60s. Your hero, Ronald Reagan, campaigned vigorously against that, saying it would lead to socialized medicine, it would end liberty in the United States. Who was right, L.B.J. or Reagan?
Cruz: You know, at the end of the day— it's not worth tilting at windmills. And we are at a different point in time than we were in the 1960s. Today, Medicare is a fundamental bulwark of our society. And there is an entire generation of s—
Harwood: So, the philosophical objection just goes out the window?
Cruz: At the— I'm— I'm a big believer at focusing on battles that matter and that are winnable. And there is a broad, universal consensus that Medicare is a fundamental bulwark of our society that's fundamentally different. Look, it's one thing to have asked 50 years ago should we have created it. It's another thing when you have a generation of seniors who paid into it 30, 40, 50 years who have been made promises. We need to honor those promises—
Harwood: Fair enough. But—
Cruz: —and— and— and—
Harwood: —do you think at the time Reagan as right?
Cruz: You know, I don't know. I wasn't alive then. What I do know is that today, we have got to preserve and reform Medicare.
Most political commentators have zeroed in on that last line from Cruz. But while that comment was no doubt breathtakingly stupid, it is, amazingly enough, not the most idiotic thing he's said during that exchange.
Ted Cruz, like every Republican politician in the country, hates Obamacare, and has vowed to repeal every word, if given the chance. Why? Because he and his ilk, are ideologically opposed to the idea of "government run" healthcare. Sure, Obamacare, as it was crafted, doesn't result in the government actually delivering healthcare, and mainly relies on private insurers to do most of the work, but even that's a bridge too far for Calgary Cruz.
Which makes his comments on medicare all the more interesting/moronic.
Cruz says that there's a "broad, universal consensus" that medicare is "a fundamental bulwark of our society". Why is this a problem? Because medicare just happens to be one of those wretched, awful, anti-freedom government programs that Cruz absolutely loathes. To be clear, it's not just a government-run program like Obamacare. In fact, it's far, far worse.
As mentioned earlier, Obamacare relies mainly on private insurance providers. Private. Medicare, by contrast, is entirely administered by the government. You know, the same government that conservatives are supposed to hate? Yeah, that's the same one that handles this wonderful medicare program that Cruz thinks is a "fundamental bulwark of our society".
I can already predict the rebuttals that will no doubt be flooding the comments section. "Medicare is completely different! People spent their entire lives paying for it, and should be able to reap the benefits as they had no choice in the matter!". This is true. It's also completely irrelevant to the matter at hand.
Right-wingers like Cruz aren't just making the argument that the free market can deliver better quality healthcare at lower cost. They are making the argument that government involvement in healthcare (or really almost anything else for that matter) is not only inefficient, but immoral, and evil. Indeed, prominent conservatives have literally argued that government-run health care will lead to genocide!
If Republicans had any internal consistency, you'd see people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, etc. vowing to repeal every word of medicare, considering it's a far more liberal, and therefore, far more of a socialist monstrosity than Obamacare. Instead we have a situation where Ted Cruz is actually falling over himself to defend this wretched creature spawned from the Great Society. Hell, during the last election, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan performed an impressive feat of Rovian political jiu-jitsu by attacking the socialist tyrant, Obama as the true enemy of medicare!
This is the state of our national healthcare debate.