How Will President Trump Affect Medicare?
by John Claeys
As inauguration day was looming, I continued to be asked by my clients how the changes President-elect Trump (of course, now, President Trump) was proposing would affect their Medicare benefits. Some were equating Medicare with the proposed rollback of Obamacare and were concerned by what they were hearing. So, are their fears founded in reality? Let’s look at the facts.
Medicare: Fully Funded for Now
First of all, Medicare is fully funded for a dozen years. This indicates that, while there may be changes in Medicare from year to year, Medicare will be there for those currently on it.
Medicare: In the Shadow of Other Major Issues
Secondly, the focus of campaign promises by President-elect Trump has been on other issues, such as bringing jobs back to America, repealing Obamacare, border security (i.e., immigration), and destroying ISIS. Each of these is a major concern which will require significant political and financial capital to address which means that, if President Trump wants to be successful in these named issues, it is unlikely he will add another major matter to this list. Furthermore, the healthcare challenge it will take to address Obamacare, healthcare for those under 65, also makes it doubtful the President will take on Medicare in a major way.
Medicare: Congress, a Slow-Roll
Thirdly, even if President Trump decided to make drastic changes to Medicare, he would have to go through Congress to get it done. Congress is notoriously slow in addressing chief concerns, particularly when it comes to cutting benefits that a large portion of the voting public enjoy. This strongly suggests there will be no major changes to Medicare in the near future.
Medicare: Congress & Votes
Finally, in conjunction with the last point, Congress rarely moves quickly to adversely affect a large and serious voting block. This seems self-evident as members of Congress, of course, want to hang onto their jobs. Because Medicare recipients seem to be the most serious voting block—voting at a higher percentage than any other group of U.S. citizens—it is unlikely that either the House or the Senate would want to upset the apple cart and jeopardize their positions.
Summary: No Major Rollbacks
For these reasons, when Medicare recipients are given hear-say declarations that President Trump will drastically change their Medicare benefits, they can breathe a sigh of relief. Though there will be some changes in Medicare each year, don’t look for any major ones that will rob beneficiaries of their benefits.
June 14, 2019
March 7, 2019