‘Trump and his party are on a wildly unpopular mission to gut Medicare and protections for pre-existing conditions.’
USA TODAY Opinion published a column by President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressing his opposition to “Medicare for All” and Democrats’ plans on health care. A roundup of reaction:
Trump, Republicans just hate Medicare
President Donald Trump’s column attacking “Medicare for All” was filled with falsehoods to distract voters from the truth: He and his party are on a wildly unpopular mission to gut Medicare and protections for pre-existing conditions.
This year, House Republicans proposed to cut Medicare spending by $537 billion over the next 10 years. For many years, they have proposed to radically privatize Medicare into a voucher system, shifting costs to beneficiaries.
Immediately after passing trillions in tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House set their sights on Medicare. Last month, Trump’s National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said, “As far as the larger entitlements, I think everybody is going to look at that probably next year.”
Trump also lied about protecting people with pre-existing conditions and lowering Obamacare premiums. The Trump administration sided with Republican state attorneys general in their lawsuit to strike down the core protections. The Republican repeal bill would have decimated these protections by causing millions to lose coverage altogether; eliminating the federal guarantee of essential benefits such as prescription drug coverage; and allowing insurance companies to charge sicker and older people much higher premiums.
Senate Republicans have just voted down a Democratic bill that would have reversed the administration’s rollback of consumer protections. Trump’s “junk” plans — the Trump University of health insurance — can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, leaving them behind in a sicker insurance pool with higher premiums. Together with repeal of the individual mandate, nonpartisan experts estimate that these policies result in premiums that are much higher than they would be otherwise.
Far from harming Medicare beneficiaries, “Medicare for All” proposals represent the greatest advancement in financial security for seniors since Medicare was enacted in 1965. Whether everyone is enrolled in Medicare or Medicare is a guaranteed choice for all, these proposals enhance benefits for seniors, adding vision, dental and hearing benefits. They also lower drug prices and eliminate or dramatically reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
Trump claims that Medicare for All would ration care and centralize health care decisions. This attack is absurd on its face: The current Medicare program is highly popular, and extending it to all would be no different. If Trump hates Medicare for All, the only logical conclusion is that he must hate Medicare itself.
Topher Spiro is the vice president for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress. You can follow him on Twitter: @TopherSpiro.
What our readers are saying
Comments from USA TODAY’s Facebook group “Across the Aisle, Across the Nation“:
As usual, President Donald Trump is lying in his column. He has done nothing to save our health care system and takes every opportunity to tear down Medicare. The health plan that he wanted the Republicans to pass would have us go back in time before Obamacare — including doing away with coverage of pre-existing conditions.
— Diane Seligmann
Trump knows nothing about the working man or senior citizens’ struggles. Here in Tennessee, his followers are mostly poor, uneducated people who don’t even know what the Republican Party stands for. They are on welfare, get food stamps, Medicaid, but by God they are going to follow Trump! It blows my mind.
— Susan Long Kuehl
First observation is that Trump is not intelligent enough to pen his own column. Second, nothing he spews at this point is believable. Third, he has polarized the health care debate and is out of touch with what would benefit the average American. Trump is so invested in making health care a commodity that he will never do the right thing.
— Brandi Stern
Total baloney. Universal health care works in every other modern nation. Trump is in bed with Big Pharma, the medical and insurance industries.
— John Steven Smith
Letter to the editor
President Donald Trump’s recent column attacking “Medicare for All” is laughable and riddled with “alternative facts.”
Here are the real facts: Since taking office, Trump has done everything in his power to strip health care from millions of hardworking American families and seniors.
Unlike Trump, I’ve actually worked in health care. I know what happens when people go without care. Still today, I see cancer patients — including children — struggling to get the care they need. I’ve watched seniors take food out of their shopping carts because they couldn’t afford it and their prescriptions. And when it comes to health policy, that’s the lens that my Democratic colleagues and I use.
Sadly, for my Republican colleagues, it’s a lens of profits. They are wholly committed to making the most money possible off the sick and dying. That’s just wrong.
Trump’s “think piece” is nothing more than a sad attempt to rebrand his and congressional Republicans cruel and repeated attempts to take health care away from the American people. It won’t work. Seniors and American families are smart; they know who is on their side.
Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust; Washington, D.C.
What others are saying
James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal: “Just like the Senate plan offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the House measure, which is indeed co-sponsored by most House Democrats, does not allow capitalism in the health care industry. ‘No institution may be a participating provider unless it is a public or not-for-profit institution,’ says the plain language of H.R. 676. And how can we be sure that it replaces Medicare rather than leaving it alone? The official summary of the bill makes clear that Medicare money will be redirected to finance the new program. … Health care is the must-win issue for Democrats. Now President Donald Trump is correctly explaining why SandersCare would be a loser for patients and taxpayers.”
Paul Waldman, The Washington Post: “Trump and the Republicans will defend Medicare from Democrats! If you believe that, you’ll hire an arsonist to protect your house from the fire department. The strangeness of this argument highlights a fundamental problem Republicans can’t get away from: They hate Medicare, but the American public loves Medicare. … Because Medicare works extremely well and provides a valued benefit to tens of millions of politically potent citizens, it is impossible for them to unwind it as they would like to do. So every election, Democrats accuse them of wanting to destroy the program, which requires them to pretend that they actually love it and want to defend it.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox: “This is the core lie of Trump’s op-ed. It is 100 percent true that the left wing of the Democratic Party is pushing a substantial change to the American health care system, and there are many legitimate qualms one might have with that change. But the proposal is to make Medicare more generous, not stingier, as Trump wants senior citizens to believe. Meanwhile, even though Trump himself maintains that he wants to avoid cuts to Medicare and Social Security, key members of his party — including senior figures in his own administration — keep pushing for cuts.”
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