Trump: Keep your promise on Medicare
Stating “keep Medicare intact” during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a crystal-clear pledge to the American people he was going to protect Medicare and Social Security.
Now, as his term begins, voters who are dependent on Medicare and Social Security are counting on Congress to support President Trump’s vow. This issue is looming because the leadership in Congress is pushing for a drastic change in Medicare that threatens to increase costs and generate risks for those who depend on it. This change is being proposed through the creation of a voucher system, sometimes called premium support, that has the potential to result in seniors paying out of pocket costs that will not be covered by this proposed privatized system. With this voucher or premium proposal, Marylanders will eventually have to choose between paying the cost of an ever-spiraling health care system or paying for day-to-day living expenses.
Reassurances have been made indicating current and soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries will not be affected, but until the causes for the spiraling costs of America’s health care are resolved, there will be no assurances that any new proposal will help seniors with their medical peace of mind. The 830,265 Maryland residents now enrolled in Medicare could be spared participating in this new voucher program, but, the pain will eventually spread, as 1,235,245 of our state’s older residents will not be allowed to enroll in Medicare but diverted to the new premium system over the next 15 years. If this happens, future Medicare premium costs are expected to continually rise as these younger, healthier, seniors with less chronic health problems are enrolled in this new system.
Under this premium support program, people with limited financial resources may then be forced to enroll in less expensive plans with limited benefits and restrictive network providers. These lower cost priced plans could also have higher deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements, putting individuals at risk for not receiving needed care due to costs they could not afford. When he was running for president, Donald Trump pledged to protect Medicare, and recognized its importance to older Americans who depend on it. We are now depending on Congress to stand by President Trump’s promise to protect Medicare. As our new president declared last year, “You made a deal a long time ago.” That deal does not include cutting benefits and pushing up health care bills at a time in life when people can least afford it. Rising health care costs continue to be a key problem for Americans of all ages and political views and must be tackled by both political parties, but responsibly.
Americans have earned their Medicare benefits by paying taxes throughout their working lives. Our nation has been well ser ved by a strong Medicare program that has kept health care affordable for seniors and can do so in the future without a major program replacement. A proposed voucher system would dramatically increase costs for older Americans when they can least afford it. President Trump understands this vital principle, and we urge him to remind those in Congress who do not share this same vision. For more than half a century, Medicare has delivered on its promise of providing health care to seniors who were once shut out of the system. Our congressmen and senators must keep Medicare sustainable and strong and should not replace a health care program that is not broken.