I'm looking forward to watching the full debate between Robin Carnahan and Roy Blunt, but part of this early run-down from the Post-Dispatch's Virginia Young caught my attention.
They sparred most intensely over the issue of Medicare, with Carnahan accusing Blunt of suggesting it was a bad program.
"There's no one here listening who believes you are a protector of Medicare," Carnahan said, referring to a Blunt quote from early in the campaign where he said the country might have been better off if Medicare had never been implemented.
"I have never said that," Blunt said, moving from behind the podium and pointing directly at Carnahan.
At issue was Blunt's comment during a radio interview last year, when he said: "You could certainly argue that government should have never gotten in the health care business."
Blunt's statements from July 2009 on The Eagle 93.9 FM were first reported here at Fired Up!. Speaking with host Mike Ferguson, Blunt said:
You could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace.
Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare, and later with Medicaid, and government already distorts the marketplace.
That same month, Blunt told prospective supporters on the campaign trail, "We've had Medicare since 1965, and Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy. If there's any opportunity for more healthy activity."
Also in July 2009, the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal published the following editorial:
Blunt comments should result in close scrutiny
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, on 93.9 FM, Columbia, made a jarring statement Friday about health care that could come back to haunt him during the 2010 senatorial race when he is expected to face off against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.
Blunt took issue during the interview with Medicare and Medicaid:
"You could certainly argue that government should have never gotten into the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all to figure out how people could have had more access to the competitive marketplace. The government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare and later with Medicaid. And government already distorts the marketplace. A government competitor would drive all of the other competitors away. What we should be doing is creating more competition."
Blunt made the remarks to show his opposition to the health care plan offered by President Obama. The Democrats' plan - a takeover of health care, Blunt calls it - certainly needs a full vetting, as does what Blunt and the Republicans advocate, which is no plan at all, The Kansas City Star stated. Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans have an answer to what is needed for health care, with hundreds of thousands of Missourians relying on Medicare and Medicaid, Blunt's statement seems ill-advised politically.