“Saying that medical device companies wanted this tax is ludicrous,” Tisei said.
“They got 30 million new customers as a result,” Tierney fired back, adding that a Republican plan to eliminate the tax would result in 350,000 Americans going uninsured.
Asked about the looming sequestration and massive budget cuts that could occur in January as a result of last year’s debt ceiling compromise, both candidates again blamed congressional discord and argued they would be best suited to strike a deal to avoid harmful impacts.
“As a member of the majority, I’ll be in a better position to help,” Tisei said, pointing out there are currently no Massachusetts Republicans in the U.S. House. “It is important to have someone in the room from Massachusetts when the decisions are made.”
Tierney said sequestration “is a great examination of what happens when one party in congress is ideologically extreme,” and pointed out that Republicans overruled their own speaker’s compromise deal with President Barack Obama.
“In his first vote, his most important vote, Mr. Tisei will vote for that group, Paul Ryan and the Ryan budget, and the extreme ideologues in the party (to lead the House),” Tierney said.
On Medicare, Tierney hammered Tisei, saying he supports a voucher program that would force seniors to pay thousands out of pocket and that he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Tisei countered that Medicare would be bankrupt by 2024 if no changes are made, and any proposed changes would not affect people 55 and over.
“Only one person on this stage voted to cut Medicare, and that was John Tierney,” Tisei said, referring to a claim that the Affordable Care Act cut $716 billion from the program in the form of reimbursement rates to hospitals, nursing homes and doctors.
“That is the biggest lie of the century,” Tierney said.