In a video comment to the AARP, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) stated last month that “we have to make sure that we protect Medicare, and we have to make sure that it continues to be viable.”
But Gardner has a record of voting to privatize Medicare, putting the program as designed at risk.
In fact, pressed on the topic during his last Senate race, Gardner stated he would vote in the Senate to privatize Medicare, as he’d voted to do during his House tenure.
In multiple votes like this one during his four years in the U.S. House, from 2010 to 2014, Gardner voted for the so-called Ryan budget, which would have, among other things, privatized Medicare.
Analysts agree that privatizing Medicare, while likely saving money, would disrupt and weaken the benefits of the program.
Gardner also said in the AARP video that he wants to “protect Medicare for those who are in the system and those who are going into the system as we all age to 65.”
Asked during his 2014 senate race against Democrat Mark Udall if he would vote again in the U.S. Senate for the “Ryan Budget,” Gardner signaled his willingness to do so. And he offered a strong defense of his Ryan-budget vote.
“Well, I would vote for a bill [Ryan budget] that allows us to balance the budget, that protects Medicare, and that’s what I did, Senator Udall, was voted for a bill that protects Medicare, that protects retirees and their social safety nets,” Gardner said on C-Span.
This isn’t surprising coming from Gardner, who made no secret of his admiration for Ryan himself.
“This is a guy [Ryan] who understands the budget and the economy perhaps better than anybody other than Mitt Romney,” Gardner once said.
“We have to make sure that this important safety-net program continues,” said Gardner in the AARP video, but his record shows that he’s willing to put the program, at least as we know it today, at risk.
A call to Gardner’s office, asking how he squares his votes to privatize Medicare with his promise to protect it was not returned.
Watch Gardner discuss Medicare on Oct. 6, 2014, in debate with Udall.