Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), whom the White House is trying to make the “poster child” for Medicare and Social Security cuts, tried to flip the script on Thursday in a contentious CNN interview by claiming President Biden cut Medicare in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Scott battled with CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins, who dismissed Scott’s claim that the Inflation Reduction Act cut Medicare as “not true” and “false.”
“Let’s remember, just a few months ago all Democrats voted and Joe Biden signed a bill to cut $280 billion out of Medicare,” Scott said in an interview on “CNN This Morning,” making reference to the prescription drug reform language in the Inflation Reduction Act that empowers the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices, which would save Medicare nearly $300 billion.
Scott argued that less Medicare money spent on prescription drugs is in effect a cut to the program, a claim Collins disputed.
“That’s not true senator,” she countered. “Reducing drug spending is not cutting benefits to Medicare.”
Scott then pointed to how CNN anchor Jake Tapper characterized Medicaid reforms that Republicans pushed under President Trump as “cuts” and accused CNN of using different standards for Trump and Biden.
“Is it a cut when Republicans do it but not a cut when Democrats propose savings?” Scott asked.
Collins waved off Scott’s line of argument by quoting a senior vice president of AARP who called it “a lie.”
“Everyone else has said that is not true,” she added. “It’s been fact-checked multiple times and they say that’s not true.”
The White House has pointed to a PolitiFact analysis by The Poynter Institute in October that rated Scott’s claim that the Inflation Reduction Act cut Medicare as “false.”
The analysis stated that reducing how much money Medicare pays for prescription drugs “wouldn’t represent cuts to Medicare beneficiaries” but it did not address Scott’s argument that prescription drug reform cuts the total amount of money flowing to pharmaceutical companies and could hurt the research and development of new drugs in the future.
“What they did last fall is going to reduce life-saving drugs,” Scott said.
Scott has also tried to turn the tables on Biden by pointing to a bill the president introduced as a freshman senator in 1975 that if enacted would have sunset budget authority for all federal programs after a period of four or six years.
“In 1975, he has a bill, a sunset bill. It says, it requires every program to be looked at freshly every four years, not just cost but worthiness,” the Florida senator said.
Scott insisted “I’ve never proposed” cuts to Medicare and Social Security, while Biden “proposed it in a bill.”
Collins pointed out that Biden’s bill was introduced “nearly 50 years ago.”
Scott introduced a 12-point plan last year that called for sunsetting all federal legislation after a period of five years, without making explicit exceptions for Medicare and Social Security.
He challenged Biden later Thursday to debate him over the future of those popular entitlement programs.
“Since you can’t stop talking about me and lying to Floridians about Social Security and Medicare, I’m sure you’ll accept my invitation to debate the issue,” he tweeted. “You pick the time and place.”