Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called Sen. Rand Paul's remarks about the Medicaid system being exploited "ridiculously reminiscent" of Mitt Romney's claim in 2012 that practically half of Americans supported Barack Obama because they are dependent on government checks, CNN
Buckley said of Paul's assertion that over half of Medicaid beneficiaries are gaming the system was "way out of nowhere" and a "detachment from reality."
Paul was talking to a small group in a café
about how power could be devolved to the states. He said "some of us would send Medicaid" money back to the states "and have Medicaid run by the states."
"What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn't be getting a disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts — join the club," he said.
"Who doesn't get a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has back pain."
The junior Republican senator from Kentucky and probable 2016 presidential candidate said he was not talking about people who are legitimately disabled but directing his remarks at malingerers. The money they are taking should better be spent on "people who are paraplegic, quadriplegic," CNN reported.
"We all know people who are horrifically disabled and can't work, but if you have able-bodied people taking the money, then there's not enough money left for the people who are truly disabled," Paul added.
Alex Lawson of Social Security Works, an advocacy group, said Paul "should be ashamed of himself for attacking Americans living with disabilities, many of whom are veterans," The Courier-Journal
A recent Social Security Administration report
said that 42 percent of people on disability claimed "mood disorders" or complained of "musculoskeletal system and connective tissue" problems.
There are some 10.2 million people on disability. Disabled workers comprise 87.4 percent of beneficiaries. About a third of these have mental disorders. While many may also receive Supplemental Security Income payments, the average monthly disability benefit was $1,146.42, according to government figures.
A 2003-12 study found that roughly 59 percent of all disability claims are rejected
Responding to Democratic criticism, Paul told CNN: "We absolutely should take care of those truly in need of help.
"But the system is broken, and when people can game the system, they are stealing from those who are truly disabled and won't receive the care and aid they need," he said. "We must reform the system to ensure that those who really need help receive it."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.