As Part of His Failed Coronavirus Response That Has Devastated Seniors, President Trump Is Now Pursuing Reckless Cuts to Medicare

From the beginning of his presidency, President Trump has waged a war on seniors. Now, Trump is proposing a permanent cut to payroll taxes–a move that would decimate Medicare as the nation is still reeling from the coronavirus crisis. Trump’s latest attack on Medicare is part of a much larger war on seniors health care: Between undermining Medicaid enrollment to proposing steep Medicare budget cuts to attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump has done nothing but threaten seniors’ coverage and access to care. Trump’s efforts to overturn the ACA threatens to raise seniors’ drug costs and impose an “age tax” that would make them pay more for care. 

As the nation is continuing to battle a once-in-a-generation health care crisis, it has never been more clear that President Trump’s war on seniors’ health care is especially dangerous. 80 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths have been among people aged 65 and older, and more than 60,000 people have died in nursing homes nationwide. Despite Trump’s repeated promises to protect Medicare, his actions speak louder than his words. 

“President Trump’s proposal to permanently cut payroll taxes – which would decimate Medicare in the process – is just the latest salvo in his war on seniors,” said Brad Woodhouse, Executive Director of Protect Our Care. “From the start of his administration, President Trump has undermined seniors’ health by fighting to undermine Medicaid enrollment, proposing steep funding cuts to Medicare, and seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act which would bring back the ‘age tax’ and raise seniors’ drug prices. Seniors are already bearing the brunt of the Trump administration’s disastrous response to the coronavirus and destroying Medicare would leave an already vulnerable community out in the cold.”

Here Are The Top Ways Trump Has Sabotaged Medicare: 

As Part Of His Failed Coronavirus Response, Trump Is Now Pursuing Permanent Payroll Tax Cuts That Would Decimate The Medicare Trust Fund. Trump signed an executive order that attempts to defer payroll tax payments from September through December for many workers, and he promised to make these cuts permanent if he wins re-election in November. While the legality of this proposal remains murky, it is clear that the impact on Medicare would be devastating if it takes effect. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the pandemic could already cause the Medicare Part A trust fund to become insolvent by 2023. Other experts say this fund could run out of money as early as 2022 as a result of fewer people paying payroll taxes amid record levels of unemployment. An even bigger cut to payroll taxes would undoubtedly result in more uncertainty for millions of seniors relying on Medicare for health care. AARP blasted Trump’s proposal, warning that “this approach exacerbates people’s already-heightened fears and concerns about their financial and retirement security.“ David Shulkin, former Veterans Affairs Secretary and health policy fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, said we “can’t afford” another crisis during the pandemic, adding that “if anything, we should be taking actions to shore up the solvency of Medicare and not be offering solutions that are going to make the problem much more critical.” 

Trump Has Repeatedly Made Clear That If He Wins Re-Election In 2020, He’s Going To Cut Medicare. Even before the current crisis, in January 2020, Trump made it clear he remained open to slashing benefits for vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security during an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum.

Trump Has Proposed Steep Cuts To Medicare In His Budget Requests. Despite repeatedly promising not to cut Medicare, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal would have cut more than $800 billion from Medicare over a decade, or roughly 10 percent of Medicare’s funding over the next ten years to help pay for tax cuts to insurance and big drug companies. Most recently, Trump’s 2021 budget would reduce Medicare spending by $500 billion, in addition to more than $1 trillion in cuts to the ACA and Medicaid. 

President Trump And His Republican Allies In Congress Will Not Allow Medicare To Negotiate For Lower Drug Prices Even As The Cost Of Drugs Skyrocket. Though 88 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, Republicans refuse to let Medicare negotiate drug prices In December 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to reduce the price of drugs for every American family by allowing the government to directly negotiate for lower drug prices for people with private insurance as well as Medicare. The bill would save households $158 billion over seven years. Despite his multiple campaign promises to let Medicare negotiate, Trump opposes the House’s plan. 

Seniors Stand To Lose If The ACA Is Overturned. If The ACA Is Struck Down In Court:

Trump is backing a lawsuit that would destroy the health care law and result in devastating coverage losses and higher costs for seniors and older adults. 

Without The ACA, People Over The Age of 50 Would Face A $4,000 “Age Tax.” If the Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA is successful, insurance companies would be able charge people over 50 much more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, according to the AARP.

Trump’s Lawsuit Would Raise Drug Costs For Millions Of Seniors On Medicare. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, seniors could have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. 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.