Here are some ways Trump waged war on Medicare.
- President Trump and Republicans in Congress tried to cut Medicare by hundreds of billions all to pay for their tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. In 2017, President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. After that, Trump and Republicans repeatedly tried to slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to pay for their tax breaks. The 2018 budget resolution passed by Republicans in December 2017 cut Medicare by $473 billion, the FY2019 budget passed by Republicans on the House Budget Committee cut Medicare by an additional $537 billion, and worst of all, the Trump administration released an FY2020 budget that would have cut, $845 billion from Medicare, and repealed the Affordable Care Act.
- President Trump tried relentlessly to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a move which would have raised drug costs for millions of people on Medicare. After repeatedly failing to repeal the ACA in Congress, the Trump administration turned to the courts to try to finish the job The Trump administration and Republican attorneys generals unsuccessfully asked the Supreme Court to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act in 2020. If they had gotten their way, the Medicare “donut” hole would be immediately re-opened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.
- As the cost of drugs skyrocketed, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress refused to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. During the Trump administration, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. That all changed with the Biden administration’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022. Although it decreases both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, Republicans in Congress have remained staunchly opposed to negotiation. Despite his numerous campaign promises, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was noticeably absent from President Trump’s prescription drug plan, and he angrily opposed the Inflation Reduction Act.
- Trump and Congressional Republicans repealed several components of the ACA designed to help keep Medicare’s costs down, effectively driving up costs for the program. By repealing the requirement that most people have insurance as part of the Trump tax bill, Congressional Republicans knowingly voted for a measure expected to increase the number of uninsured. The 2018 Medicare Trustees Report predicted that this increase will increase the share of subsidies paid to hospitals via Medicare. Similarly, by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Congressional Republicans took away a mechanism that slowed Medicare cost growth.