Yesterday, Missouri Republicans selected Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) as their candidate to oppose Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) bid for reelection. Akin, who like nearly every Republican in Congress voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, is a staunch opponent of Medicare in general. Indeed, he told a Tea Party group last year that he believes the program is unconstitutional:
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin said he has doubts about the constitutionality of Medicare and thinks global warming ?is highly suspect.? [...]
Akin?s remarks questioning the constitutionality of Medicare came as he was explaining his vote against prescription coverage under the medical plan for seniors and people with disabilities. He said it was too expensive, and ?it was expanding an entitlement I wasn?t too comfortable with to begin with.?
Asked about the remarks after the meeting, Akin said, ?I don?t find in the Constitution that it is the job of the government to provide health care.?
Akin is hardly the first Republican nominated for the Senate this year who holds views that place him well outside the American mainstream. Recently nominated Texas Tea Partier Ted Cruz wants to privatize Social Security and believes that billionaire investor George Soros is leading a global United Nations conspiracy to eliminate the game of golf. Similarly, New York Republican candidate Wendy Long believes that national child labor laws and the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters are unconstitutional.
If elected, Akin would join at least two other Republican senators who believe that Medicare is unconstitutional. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a lecture while he was campaigning for his current job in which he stated that “health care” is not something that can be addressed by the federal government. Likewise, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told a town hall meeting in 2011 that protecting the “frail elderly” is “a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.”