Medicare is a fundamental tool of economic security – a guarantee that seniors will not be denied health care just because they cannot afford it. But Republicans in the House, led by Paul Ryan, just voted for a budget plan (HR553) (Roll Call Vote 552) that would gut Medicare – slashing funding for the program by more than $473 billion. (Note: Rep. Mark Amodei from NVCD2 was absent for the vote, as were all three Las Vegas Reps from CD1, CD3 and CD4.)
Fresh off their failure to pass #TrumpedUpCare and take away health insurance for millions, cruel and heartless Republicans in Congress, led by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, are desperate to tell their insurance industry donors that they have been able to do something to undermine the social safety net, and so they are sneaking this massive cut into their 2018 budget proposal.
More than 58 million seniors rely on Medicare, and the program is overwhelmingly popular. When we have collectively taken action to stop #TrumpedUpCare, we have been able to keep the Republicans from gutting health care. With Medicare now on the chopping block, we need to make it clear that any attempt to privatize, cut, weaken or damage Medicare is completely unacceptable.
Speaker Ryan has wanted to destroy Medicare for years. His ultimate goal is to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a privatized program in which seniors would get federal vouchers to help offset the cost of premiums charged by commercial insurance plans. It’s a trick designed to create the appearance of cutting costs by shifting some of the financial burden from the federal government to America’s seniors. If Ryan gets his way, folks who have been working their whole lives counting on Medicare in their retirement won’t ever be able to enroll in Medicare – instead, they will get a check that might help cover their premium for private insurance, if they are lucky.
The devastating budget bill (HR553) that Ryan just pushed through the House would destroy the social safety net: slashing funding not just for Medicare, but also for Medicaid, affordable housing and Pell Grants. All so they can give the ultra-wealthy a 1.5 billion-dollar tax cut.5
During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly pledged that he would not attack Medicare, but since inauguration, he has only undermined the program. First he appointed Tom Price, who has a long history of opposing Medicare as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Price has since resigned over his use of tax payer-funded private jets, but another Trump appointee and fervent Medicare opponent, Mick Mulvaney, remains the budget director, where he has significant influence on social safety net spending.6 These attacks on Medicare are enormously unpopular, and if we speak up now, we can stop cruel and reckless Republicans from gutting this essential program just so they can give a massive tax hand out to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
It’s time to lean on Senator Dean Heller (who’ll likely be looking to vote “Aye” to please Trump) and Senator Catherine Masto (pretty sure she’s all ready a “No”) to make sure these massive cuts don’t pass the Senate as currently written and sent to the White House for signature.
- “House passes $4.2 trillion budget, sets up tax cuts for the rich and guts Medicare & Medicaid” — Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, Oct. 5, 2017.
- “Medicare Enrollment Dashboard,” accessed Oct. 3, 2017 at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- “Medicare, Medicaid popularity high: Kaiser” — Dan Mangan, CNBC, July 17, 2017.
- “Ryan Plans to Phase Out Medicare in 2017” — Josh Marshall, TPM, Nov. 13, 2016.
- “Five Ways Donald Trump Has Broken His Promise To Protect Social Security, Medicare And Medicaid In His First 100 Days” — Nancy Altman and Linda Bensch, HuffPost, May 1, 2017.