Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocks Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for trying to ‘own the socialists’ by praising Medicare and Medicaid

Elise stefanik leadership vote
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
  • AOC mocked Stefanik for celebrating Medicare and Medicaid, while condemning “Socialist healthcare.”
  • Others also pointed out the contradiction in Stefanik’s praise for the “critical” programs.
  • “Trust me, Medicare for All is the #1 thing you can do to own the socialists,” AOC tweeted.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocked Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for simultaneously celebrating Medicare and Medicaid and condemning “Socialist healthcare schemes” in a tweet on Friday.

Stefanik, who recently replaced Rep. Liz Cheney as the number three House Republican, called on Americans “to reflect on the critical role these programs have played to protect the healthcare of millions of families” on the 56th anniversary of the two healthcare programs. But, she added, “to safeguard our future, we must reject Socialist healthcare schemes.”

Critics quickly pointed out the irony in celebrating the government programs, while arguing that expanding them would lead to “socialism.” Ocasio-Cortez poked fun at Stefanik’s remarks by urging the Republican to support Medicare-for-all to “own the socialists.”

“Totally agree,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, sharing Stefanik’s message. “In fact, to further protect Medicare from socialism, let’s strengthen it to include dental, vision, hearing, & mental healthcare and then allow all Americans to enjoy its benefits. Trust me, Medicare for All is the #1 thing you can do to own the socialists.”

Other critics pointed out the contradiction in calling Medicare and Medicaid “critical” in protecting healthcare, but simultaneously denouncing any efforts to ensure more Americans benefit from the programs.

Major government social safety net programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, were denounced by many conservatives as “socialism” when Congress signed them into law more than a half-century ago. In the 1960s, Ronald Reagan claimed that Medicare would lead to socialism.

But in the decades since, these government programs have come to be embraced by the vast majority of Americans, including many conservatives. Former President Donald Trump repeatedly promised to protect all three programs during his 2016 presidential campaign. But once in office, he proposed massive cuts to the programs, none of which were passed by Congress.