101 Days of Silence: Heather Wilson and John Sanchez Still Refuse to Stand Up to Republican Plan to End Medicare

101 Days Since Republicans Unveiled The Radical Plan To Cut End Medicare For 21,400 New Mexico Seniors

91 Days Since House Republicans Voted To Force New Mexico Seniors To Pay $4,755 More Annually For Health Care

46 Days Since Senate Republicans Voted To Slash Nursing Home Care For New Mexico Seniors

32 Days Since Republican Leaders in D.C. Urged Wilson, Sanchez To Get On Board With Republican Medicare Plan

It’s been 101 days since Republicans in Washington D.C. unveiled their radical plan to privatize Medicare in favor of tax cuts for Big Oil and millionaires but for 14 weeks, Heather Wilson and John Sanchez continue to refused to stand up against their party’s attacks on seniors and the middle class. While Senate Republicans voted to cut Medicare benefits for 21,400 New Mexico seniors, Heather Wilson and John Sanchez are showing their true colors by standing against New Mexico seniors, and their silence is deafening.

“New Mexicans simply don’t want Republicans to privatize Medicare and force New Mexico seniors to pay on average $4,755  more each year healthcare, but for 101 days, Heather Wilson and John Sanchez have refused to speak out against the Republican plan,” said Shripal Shah, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  “John Sanchez and Heather Wilson’s decision to sit on the sidelines while Republicans in Washington voted to cut Medicare benefits for 21,400 New Mexico seniors and give billion dollar tax breaks to their special interest friends tells New Mexicans everything they need to know about who Heather Wilson and John Sanchez will fight for in Washington, and it’s most definitely not seniors or the middle class.”

For nearly four months, Heather Wilson and John Sanchez have refused to denounce their party’s extreme plan to end Medicare, sending a chilling message to New Mexico seniors and the middle class. Over the past three months, Republicans in Washington have unveiled their dangerous plan to privatize Medicare, voted on it twice and even seen their leaders demand that Republican candidates get on board. All the while, Wilson and Sanchez have done nothing to demonstrate that they can be trusted to protect Medicare from privatization.

“When it comes to New Mexico seniors, Heather Wilson and John Sanchez have made it crystal clear that they simply can’t be trusted in any way, shape or form,” Shah added.

Background:

Wall Street Journal: GOP Plan Would “End Medicare.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11]

House GOP Leader Cantor: Senate Candidates Should Support Plan. When asked at a town hall meeting yesterday if Senate candidates should support the Republican plan that ends Medicare in order to preserve tax breaks for the rich and oil companies, House Majority Leader Canter answered, “Yes… I believe that the proposal that we’ve put forward is a credible plan to reduce spending and to reform the system so that we can see a return to prosperity.” [Associated Press, 6/8/11]

“Neither Of The Top Republican Contenders Have Rushed To Thoroughly Embrace The Ryan Plan — But Neither Joined The Democrats In Bashing It.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/30/11]

Sanchez: Budget is a “Very Good Start.” Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, in an email statement, said, “I haven’t seen a perfect budget solution yet, but Paul Ryan’s is a very good start. We must rein in government spending. It is immoral to spend money we don’t have.” He declined to state what he would have preferred to see in the plan. [Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/30/11]

Wilson: I Give Ryan “A Lot of Credit.” Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, when asked about the plan, said, “The greatest threat to seniors is to do nothing to save it, which is the Democratic plan. … I don’t agree with everything in the Ryan plan, but I give him a lot of credit for trying to have a serious debate about saving Medicare. Democrats have not offered one single idea to save Medicare.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/30/11]

National Journal: Both Campaigns in New Mexico Refused to Comment on GOP Budget. “In New Mexico, the campaign of former Rep. Heather Wilson did not comment when asked by Hotline On Call where she stood. Wilson’s main GOP opponent, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, when pressed in an interview Tuesday over whether he would vote for the measure, declined to commit to a yes or no vote.” [National Journal, 5/26/11]

Wilson Refused To Say Whether She Would Have Supported The Republican Budget. In May 2011, Bloomberg News reported that Wilson has refused to say whether she would have supported the Republican proposal to replace Medicare with a subsidy helping senior citizens buy private health insurance if she was in office. [Bloomberg News, 5/27/11]

Wilson “Praised The Ryan Budget Plan, While Not Embracing All Aspects Of The Medicare Proposal.” In May 2011, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported that in a meeting with the paper’s editorial board, Wilson “praised the Ryan budget plan, while not embracing all aspects of the Medicare proposal.” [Las Cruces Sun-News, 5/28/11]

The Republican plan to end Medicare will increase out-of-pocket health care costs for a typical 65 year-old New Mexico senior by $4,755 in 2022 – more than double the cost under current law. [DPCC Fact Sheet]

In New Mexico, more than 21,400 seniors would pay $12 million more for prescription drugs in 2012 alone under the Republican plan. [DPCC Fact Sheet]

In New Mexico, the Republican plan could cut $4.5 billion in federal health care funding for seniors and the disabled through Medicaid, including life-saving nursing home care. [DPCC Fact Sheet]

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