Rep. West says current Medicare system spells end of United States

Several booted from Boca town hall

BOCA RATON, Fla. - If those opposed to U.S. Rep. Allen West have their way, the 2012 election will be fought on his recent vote to privatize Medicare starting in 2023.

They got loud during a town hall meeting the congressman held Wednesday night in Boca Raton.

To see the story that aired on WPTV, click "Video" in the upper left hand side of the screen.

The man designated to read questions from audience members read one word a lot: "Medicare."

And if you know Congressman Allen West and what he thinks of Medicare, the program that delivers health care to 38 million seniors and that national polls say is largely supported, his response was what you'd expect.

"I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye," said West.

But Democratic-leaning groups are itching to fight. They protested outside beforehand. Then several proceeded to get booted for shouting out during the town hall.

They vowed to make West's vote to privatize Medicare starting in the early 2020s the number one issue as he runs for re-election in 2012.

"If they don't know his positions as yet, they will find out very quickly," said Bill Cea, of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

But West says that Medicare is too expensive and that raising taxes on the wealthy would do nothing more than drive job creators out of business.

His views won applause, proving that he won't be going to battle over changing Medicare, or the next election, alone.

"I really believe that when people stop and listen to what he says, and understand the history of this country, that they will understand what Allen West is all about," said Tarina Rasmussen, a West supporter.

The Democratic National Committee is already making phone calls to voters in this district about his Medicare vote.

He says the campaign should be about national security and the deficit, but that he's ready to go to war on Medicare too.

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