Nebraska Tea Party Candidate Flip-Flopped On Medicare Part D

AP

Nebraska Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Ben Sasse seems to have changed his position on Medicare part D.

In a recent interview with Slate’s Dave Weigel Sasse, the president of Midland University, said he had always been opposed to the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as Medicare Part D. Weigel asked about his stance on it when Sasse served assistant secretary of Health and Human Services in then President George W. Bush’s administration.

“I was opposed to it then and I’m opposed to it now,” Sasse said in response.

Here’s the thing though: The Washington Post reported Wednesday that in 2009 (after he had left the Bush administration) Sasse argued in an op-ed for U.S. News and World Report that the nation should use the Medicare Part D as a sort of guide or model to reform the country’s healthcare system. Sasse wrote in the op-ed that “Medicare Part D is (or should be) a policymaker’s dream: a government program that efficiently delivers high quality services, and does so under budget.”

Asked about the op-ed, Sasse campaign manager Tyler Grassmeyer told the Post that the Senate candidate opposes Medicare Part D but, Grassmeyer added, “of all the entitlement programs … Part D has by far the best free market mechanisms.”

Sasse’s position on Medicare Part D and Obamacare are especially notable since he’been endorsed by the influential Club for Growth which strongly opposed Medicare Part D when it was passed in 2003. Barney Keller, a spokesman for the Club for Growth, stood by the group’s support of Sasse.

“We think Sasse’s exemplary record on our issues and his commitment to pass pro-growth policy through Congress speaks for itself,” Keller told the Post. “We simply disagree with the content of this op-ed.”

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