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Senate Returns To Work In Final Week Before Summer Recess
Sen. Rick Scott walks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office in the U.S. Capitol Building on August 1 in Washington, D.C.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

On Medicare, Florida’s Rick Scott picks a fight he cannot win

Rick Scott apparently wants to have a "conversation" over which party wants to "cut" Medicare and Social Security. He may not like where the chat ends up.


There are few issues on which Democrats are more confident than Social Security and Medicare. These pillars of modern American life — sometimes referred to in political circles as “entitlements” — are popular, effective, and lifesaving programs that Democratic officials took the lead in creating, and which the party has championed since their inception.

They’re also programs Republicans have spent recent decades trying to undermine and privatize out of existence.

As this year’s midterm elections approach, the conventional wisdom suggests that Social Security and Medicare won’t be among the dominant issues dictating outcomes, but Democrats would love for that to change — and they’re getting a surprising amount of help from prominent GOP officeholders and candidates.

In Arizona, for example, Republican Senate hopeful Blake Masters recently endorsed privatizing Social Security, despite running in a state with quite a few retirees. In Wisconsin, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson soon after raised a few eyebrows, endorsing the idea of moving Medicare and Social Security into Congress’ discretionary budget — in the process, ending guaranteed and automatic benefits — where they could be subjected to annual cuts.

And then there’s Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida — another state where a handful of retirees reside — who published this odd tweet yesterday, taking aim at President Joe Biden.

“This is the guy that just applauded Dems cutting $280 BILLION from Medicare while on vacation at the beach. [Biden] spent decades trying to CUT Medicare & Social Security. My plan is focused on preserving them.”

Right off the bat, given Scott’s professional background — he helped oversee a company that committed Medicare fraud on a massive and historic scale — this is a subject he should probably try to avoid.

What’s more, the idea that the Inflation Reduction Act "cuts" Medicare is utterly bonkers. One of the central provisions of the legislation involves empowering the Medicare program to negotiate lower prices for consumers on prescription medications. In the English language, there is no credible definition of “cut” under which this falls.

Scott has been corrected on this before. The GOP senator keeps trying to deceive the public anyway.

Finally, there’s the Floridian’s own plan, which calls for putting all government programs — including Social Security and Medicare — up for renewal every five years, necessarily putting their futures on unstable and uncertain ground.

By way of a defense, Scott has said he wants to initiate “a conversation“ about major changes to Medicare and Social Security, which is generally a polite euphemism Republicans use when pushing for entitlement cuts.

All of which leads to an awkward question for the controversial senator: Why pick a fight over an issue where he cannot win?