Trump Hints He May Be Open To Cutting Medicare Safety
At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, thats actually the easiest of all things, if you look, President Donald Trump said in response to a question whether cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security were on the table. The statement was a departure from the last election when Trump tapped into the popularity of the two programs while wooing voters.
The New York Times:Trump Opens Door To Cuts To Medicare And Other Entitlement ProgramsPresident Trump suggested on Wednesday that he would be willing to consider cuts to social safety-net programs like Medicare to reduce the federal deficit if he wins a second term, an apparent shift from his 2016 campaign promise to protect funding for such entitlements. The president made the comments on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Despite promises to reduce the federal budget deficit, it has ballooned under Mr. Trumps watch as a result of sweeping tax cuts and additional government spending.
Axios:Trump Suggests Entitlement Cuts Could Come In His Second TermWhy it matters: Trump shied away from committing to cuts to social safety-net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security during his 2016 campaign. But his willingness to consider such measures now marks a shift that would likely appeal to the deficit hawks in the Republican Party.
Recurring Theme: Cut The Safety Net
Then, theres Trumps own budget, as explained by a conservative Wall Street Journal article:
“The White House proposes to cut spending by $4.4 trillion over a decade. Of that, it targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits.”
The president has said this stuff again and again.
Believe him and know this:
While youre hanging by a thread, hes oiling up the scissors.
How Can Trump Cut Medicare Benefits
Although Trump represents one branch of government, the executive branch, his budget must be approved by Congress, the legislative branch. Typically by the first Monday in February, the president gives Congress his budget proposal for the next fiscal year. Congress then votes on a final budget. Medicare benefit cuts wonât go into effect unless Congress approves them.
Itâs also important to know that Medicare falls into the âmandatory spendingâ category of the federal budget. Medicare benefits are a type of entitlement program which also includes Social Security and Medicaid. According to USA.gov, mandatory spending, including spending on Medicare benefits, typically uses over half of all funding.
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Presidents Health Reform Vision
The budget anticipates $844 billion in health-care savings over the next 10 years from the presidents health reform vision, a vague plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act. About $744 billion of that would come from changes to Medicaid that would end what the administration describes as the financial bias that currently favors able-bodied working-age adults over the truly vulnerable.
Under the ACA, millions of uninsured low-income people gained coverage for the first time as part of the laws Medicaid expansion. Trumps plan would end federal dollars which dwarf the states contributions possibly making some 13 million people again uninsured, if states are unable to maintain expanded eligibility, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank.
The administration also suggested its health reform vision could save money through instituting greater price transparency, lowering prescription-drug prices, and ending surprise bills but the budget does not offer a plan for accomplishing those initiatives or indicate exactly how much money each could save.
According to the budget, the plan would protect the most vulnerable, especially those with preexisting conditions.” Yet at the same time, the Trump administration is supporting a Texas lawsuit seeking to do away with the ACA entirely including its popular coverage guarantee for people with preexisting conditions.
The White Houses New Budget Exposes Donald Trumps Lies About Protecting Medicare And Medicaid
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Ive noted before that Donald Trump lives by a famous dictum from Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist: When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. And the President has outdone himself with his Administrations new budget proposal for the 2020 fiscal year, which is entitled A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First.
Promises kept has a particularly nice ring to it. Almost as nice as what Trump said on that fateful day, June 16, 2015, when he descended the escalator at Trump Tower. Save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts, he declared. Have to do it. Throughout the Republican primary campaign, Trump repeated this pledge many times and also accused his G.O.P. opponents of wanting to slash the three big entitlement programs. In the general-election campaign, he stuck to the same mantra. A few days before Election Day, he suggested that Hillary Clinton wanted to destroy Medicare, the public health-care system for the elderly, which she had vowed to expand, and claimed that he alone would protect it.
No surprise there, you might say. Its been clear from the beginning that Trump was selling snake oil and that his pledge to protect the safety net was about as valuable as a certificate from Trump University. But it is instructive, nonetheless, to see his mendacity expressed in cold numbers, and it also raises an interesting political question.
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Taking Scissors To Safety Net
That sinking feeling youll get if Donald Trump is elected to a second term will be caused by plummeting through the hole in your safety net. The one he plans on cutting.
Social Security snip, snip.
Medicare snip, snip.
Medicaid snip, snip.
In his most recent town hall among some friendly hosts from FOX News the president was asked about plans for his next term, should he be reelected. He spoke of how he believes the economic growth will be tremendous. One of the hosts cut in, saying, But if you dont cut something in entitlements
And Trump interrupted, saying, Oh, well be cutting.
The presidents mostly silent press secretary, Arizonas own Stephanie Grisham, tried to soften the blow by asking people not to hear what they actually heard, tweeting, Fake news POTUS was taking about cutting deficits, NOT entitlements.
He was talking about cutting entitlements.
And it isnt the first time hes said this.
How Trump Would Cut Medicare By $818b In A Decade
President Trump’s proposed budget released Monday appeared to call on Congress to cut $818 billion from Medicare over 10 years, despite a long-standing promise from the president that he wouldn’t touch the popular program.
The budget does not outline specific cuts to Medicare, nor does it propose a cost-saving plan along the lines of an idea from former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to give beneficiaries subsidies to buy private coverage. Instead, the budget envisions spending reductions through Congress passing prescription-drug legislation and through efforts to reduce improper payments to healthcare providers.
“He’s not cutting Medicare in this budget,” Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, said at a White House press briefing Monday. “What we are doing is putting forward reforms that lower drug prices, that, because Medicare pays a very large share of drug prices in this country, has the impact of finding savings. We are also fighting waste, fraud, and abuse.”
Vought said that Medicare spending would still rise and that beneficiaries wouldn’t face any “structural” changes in their benefits.
From a pure political perspective, this is – by far – the most radical, unpopular proposal that any 2020 candidate had put forward thus far. Every Democrat should be talking about this every day. Start running the ads now and dont stop until Election Day.
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No Service Cuts But The Trust Fund Took A Hit
Protecting Medicare was was one of Trump’s earliest campaign pledges. “Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it,” he said in his presidential campaign announcement speech.
So far, the promise of Medicare remains in force. There have been no cuts in services or a change in the government’s responsibility to fund the program.
That said, Medicare’s resources to pay for those services has shrunk, and both Trump and House Republicans have proposed ways to trim Medicare spending over the next decade.
On the resources side, a side effect of the Republican 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act was a loss of tax dollars flowing into Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. That’s the main pot of Medicare money, and the Medicare Trustees forecast in their 2018 report that the fund would run out of money in 2026. A year earlier, they said it would last until 2029.
On Trump’s watch, it lost three years of solvency.
In a presentation at the American Enterprise Institute, a market-oriented think tank, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Paul Spitalnic, said two of the lost years were due to lower than expected wage growth.
But the other lost year came from the Republican tax cuts.
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 decreased individual tax rates and as a result, there is somewhat less income coming into the trust fund,” Spitalnic said. “That does have an effect of making depletion of the trust fund a year earlier.”
Democrats Have Already Signaled Trumps Budget Is Going Nowhere
While Trump tries to have it both ways by proposing entitlement cuts while claiming hes not really doing that, Treasury Department spokesperson Monica Crowley was somewhat more straightforward during a Monday morning appearance on Fox Business.
Asked by host Stuart Varney if she agrees that the new budget hits the safety net, Crowley said the president understands that Washingtons habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.
Treasury Secretary Assistant Sec. Monica Crowley defends cuts to entitlements in Trump’s new 2021 budget proposal: “The president also understands that Washington’s habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.”
But for Trump, not all spending is bad. While his budget cuts non-defense spending by 5 percent, he actually slates defense spending for an increase to $740.5 billion for fiscal year 2021.
Budget proposals are just that proposals. And while Trump insists that Republicans are the ones trying to save entitlements from destruction, the irony is that the truth is exactly the opposite: Entitlement cuts are dead on arrival as long as Democrats control a chamber of Congress.
House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth alluded to this reality in a statement he released on Sunday blasting Trump for proposing deep cuts to critical programs that help American families.
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Blueprint Includes Cuts For Care In Hospital Outpatient Departments Teaching Hospitals And Post
President Trump’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget slashes billions of dollars from Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs in an attempt to shrink the federal deficit.
Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act see about $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade, according to The Hill. The budget eliminates the enhanced federal match for Medicaid expansion enrollees. An additional $150 billion is expected to be shaved off of Medicaid from the implementation of work requirements, which is expected to result in people losing their healthcare coverage.
The “President’s health reform vision” to ax the Affordable Care Act takes $844 billion over 10 years from the ACA, the report said.
The decrease in federal spending on Medicare would total about $750 billion over 10 years, but that includes shifting two programs out of the budget. After accounting for those changes, the reduction is just over $500 billion, according to CNN. Much of that cut comes from reducing payments to providers.
The budget needs Congressional approval and is not expected to get past a Democratic-controlled House without changes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted: “The budget is a statement of values. Once again, the #TrumpBudget makes it painfully clear how little the President values the good health, financial security and well-being of America’s hard-working families.”
WHY THIS MATTERS
THE LARGER TREND
Related: Mcsally Silent On Trumps Comments About Making Cuts To Medicare
The continued threats from the GOP to these two popular programs also contradict public sentiment. According to Gallup, nearly two decades of polling on Social Security indicates that a majority of adults want Social Security left completely intact. Medicare also generally sees positive poll numbers in Gallup surveys. And while Medicaid and Medicare are not the same, Medicaid is one of the largest public programs run by the federal government. As recently as last week, voters in Republican-led Missouri joined those in Oklahoma and other GOP-helmed states to expand lower-income public insurance options like Medicaid. This would seem to put Trump and other GOP politicians at odds with the general sentiment on tax-funded programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Medicare and Social Security will almost certainly come up on the campaign trail, if public sentiment on the popular programs is to be believed. While Republicans are bent on defunding the programs , Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to keep Medicare as it is, ensuring there is no disruption to the current Medicare system. And on Social Security, Biden wants to increase funding to the program by having Americans with especially high wages to pay the same taxes on those earnings that middle-class families pay.
Correction: A previous version of this story used outdated data to account for the number of Arizonans on Medicare. We regret the error.
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Signs That The Economy Is Losing Steam
Worrying outlook.Amid persistently high inflation, rising consumer prices and declining spending, the American economy is showing clear signs of slowing down, fueling concerns about a potential recession. Here are other eight measures signaling trouble ahead:
Retail sales.The latest report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales fell 0.3 percent in May, and rose less in April than initially believed.
Consumer confidence.In June, the University of Michigans survey of consumer sentiment hit its lowest level in its 70-year history, with nearly half of respondents saying inflation is eroding their standard of living.
The housing market.Demand for real estate has decreased, and construction of new homes is slowing. These trends could continue as interest rates rise, and real estate companies, including Compass and Redfin, have laid off employees in anticipation of a downturn in the housing market.
Start-up funding.Investments in start-ups have declined to their lowest level since 2019, dropping 23 percent over the last three months, to $62.3 billion.
The stock market.The S& P 500 had its worst first half of a year since 1970, and it is down nearly 19 percent since January. Every sector of the index beyond energy is down from the beginning of the year.
Oil.Crude prices are up this year, in part because of supply constraints resulting from Russias invasion of Ukraine, but they have recently started to waver as investors worry about growth.
Is President Trump Really Proposing To Cut Medicare By $845 Billion
Copies of U.S. President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget sit at the U.S. Government… Publishing Office. Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg
If you add up the proposed Medicare changes in President Trumps 2020 budget, it looks like he would cut the program by $845 billion over the next decade. Thats generated outrage from Democrats, but a closer look suggests that the reductions are much smaller, most would affect providers rather than beneficiaries, and many recycle old ideas that have little chance of ever being adopted.
Make no mistake, the Trump budget is hardly senior-friendly. Hed freeze or reduce spending for many federal senior service programscontinuing a trend that has gone on for more than a decade. And his proposed cuts to Medicaid could hurt family caregivers of parents or younger relatives with disabilities. But the Medicare cuts? There is much less there than meets the eye.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget does a nice job walking through the math, and concludes that the net reduction in Medicare spending would be between $515 billion and $575 billion, not $845 billion. The White House projects that total Medicare spending over the next decade will top $10 trillion.
While even $515 billion is a lot of money, very little would directly affect beneficiaries. CRFB figures about 85 percent of the cuts would come from hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities, and other providers.
Little chance of becoming law
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Medicare In The 2021 Trump Budget
President Trumps 2021 budget proposes about $500 billion in net Medicare spending reductions over ten years , most of which would come from reducing payments to health care providers and not affect beneficiaries directly.
For the most part, the budget does not reflect the Presidents efforts to end the Affordable Care Act or his executive order calling for various Medicare changes. These policies, which a budget would typically include, would weaken Medicare in several ways.
The budget would establish a new payment system for post-acute care, reduce Medicare coverage of bad debts , limit medical malpractice awards, extend through 2030 the 2 percent Medicare sequestration cut under the 2011 Budget Control Act, and pay for all doctor and other outpatient services at the same rate regardless of where theyre provided. Most of these proposals also appeared in last years budget.
In two cases payments to hospitals for graduate medical education and for uncompensated care the budget proposes to move spending from Medicares trust funds to new, smaller grant programs funded by general revenues. While the budget would cut Medicare spending by $756 billion over ten years, the cuts amount to $501 billion after accounting for the general revenue payments for GME and uncompensated care.
Unfortunately, other Administration proposals would weaken Medicares finances and harm beneficiaries.
|Medicare Proposals in the 2021 Budget|