President Trump used a speech at a Florida retirement community today to spread falsehoods about Medicare in front of an audience of seniors. “Medicare is under threat like never before,” he said this afternoon at the Villages retirement community outside Ocala, accusing Democrats of undermining a program they enacted in 1965 – and have been fighting to protect in the face of unrelenting attacks from conservatives ever since.
Meanwhile, a President who was willing to strip more than 20 million Americans of their health coverage in the blink of an eye has the gumption to paint Democrats as “extremists” on health care. If Medicare is under threat from anyone, it’s Trump and his allies in Congress.
When it comes to healthcare – and especially seniors’ health care – Trump chooses to dwell in an Orwellian ‘opposite world’ where Republican attempts to cut and privatize Medicare are actually meant to “protect” the program. Apparently, President Trump and his GOP allies believe they must destroy Medicare in order to save it.
The President’s claim that he and his party want to make Medicare “better and stronger” takes a lot of brass, considering his administration has:
*Proposed $846 billion in Medicare cuts over ten years, weakening the program’s solvency.
*Attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which strengthened Medicare’s solvency, improved benefits, and lowered premiums for ‘near seniors’ under 65 years old.
*Promoted private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans while neglecting traditional Medicare (which covers most of the program’s 59 million beneficiaries).
While the Trump administration pumps up private Medicare Advantage plans with goodies like rides to the doctor and gym memberships, why hasn’t the president supported at least one of several Democratic bills to expand traditional Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage?
Today’s speech re-emphasizes that the President has bought into the profits-first-patients-second ideology of his key health care advisers, including budget director and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Medicare administrator Seema Verma, who have never met a government program they don’t want to privatize.
The president’s Medicare rant may have provoked applause from the invitation-only audience at the Villages, but seniors around the country know who has truly protected their Medicare for 54 years – and which party wants to expand and strengthen the program now. And it isn’t President Trump or the “entitlement reformers” in the GOP.
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