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Trump Cuts Medicare, and Democrats Think They Have an Issue

The budget unveiled Monday by President Trump, which will never pass Congress, surely does provide cuts to Medicare, despite the White House protestations that it doesn’t.

It goes after “waste, fraud and abuse” in Medicare, which inevitably will scoop up some actual needed spending. And it cuts hospital payments, which means services will be curtailed or simply made worse.

And it does seem to break Trump’s irresponsible campaign promise not to cut entitlements.

Nevertheless, I don’t think he’ll be harmed by this. The cuts are not significant in the grand scheme of things — at least not compared to what needs to be slashed from Medicare and Social Security, which are unsustainable programs. And telling the truth to the American people while Democrats promise trillions in spending that even the Chinese can’t possibly lend us I think will work for Trump.

From the Washington Post:

A new proposal by President Trump to slash Medicare spending puts Republicans in a political bind ahead of the 2020 election as Democrats are pitching an expansion of the popular health-care program for all Americans.

Trump’s 10-year budget unveiled Monday calls for more than $845 billion in reductions for Medicare, aiming to cut “waste, fraud and abuse” in the federal program that gives insurance to older Americans. It’s part of a broader proposed belt-tightening effort after deficits soared during the president’s first two years in office in part due to massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

The move immediately tees up a potential messaging battle between Democratic proposals for Medicare-for-all — castigated by Republicans as a socialist boondoggle — and a kind of Medicare-for-less approach. focused on cutting back on spending, from the GOP.

The White House said Monday that Trump’s budget, which calls for changing hospital reimbursement rates and finding savings on drug prices, does not amount to cuts for Medicare or change the program structurally.

16 thoughts on “Trump Cuts Medicare, and Democrats Think They Have an Issue”

    1. This sounds as though any reduction in payment would be to providers – not patients – for waste, fraud or abuse of Medicare reimbursement. If it goes forward, CMS will most likely set up some kind of quality measure for the providers sand then institute an incentive program (pay for performance). It’s how they structure other areas in Medicare.

    2. Don’t worry. President Trump would NEVER reduce care or payments to seniors for Medicare or SS. Its about reducing RX prices and has nothing to do with you.

  1. Having just buried an older sister with health issues and our 92 year old Mom last year and seeing how much is charged for services and how much Medicare actually gets paid – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the program is treading water. If people don’t think there is excessive waste in any government program, they have their head in the sand. If serious work was done on dealing with fraud and waste in government programs (much like the private sector), there would be far more $$$ available to provide better care for less money.

  2. This happened around 10 years ago. My elderly father hadn’t seen his chiropractor in around 3 years. The doctor hired a new office person and she accidentally sent out billing statements to ppl who owed on their accounts. They said my father owed them around $1,500 and the bills showed Medicare had been charged over $8,000 and the doctor had been reimbursed the $8,000. Lots of ppl must have gotten similar bills and we’re calling and saying they hadn’t either been there or not as many visits as was being charged for. Amazingly, the doctor retired, moved out of the country and was never heard from again. Clean up the abuse and there will be plenty of money.

  3. I would also like to comment from the health care professionals’ side. Medicare continues to cut payment to doctors, to the point that many physicians cannot afford to see Medicare patients. (Have you tried to get a primary care doctor for your older parents when they’ve moved to a new town? Good luck!)
    Somehow the government forgets that doctors have to pay the electric bill, AND has to pay extra workers to wade through all the Medicare paperwork. Keeping up with all the Medicare rules is VERY expensive.
    And don’t get me started on Electronic Medical Records! What a joke! Different EMR systems DO NOT talk to each other (the very reason they were mandated), and they are extremely expensive to start up and to maintain. And they take HOURS of a health care professional’s day.
    ‘Nuf said for the moment.

    1. I come from the health insurance side, my last job was for a Medicaid provider. The state mandates how many claims must be paid per day. If not enough, the state fines the payor. This leads to all stops being removed during the payment process every night. Duplicate & triplicate payments are paid to the providers. They don’t complain because the reimbursement is so low per service.
      It’s a huge mess.

      1. See below as to why most doctors try to keep their Medicare payments straight. The government can and will shut down your practice while they “investigate”.

    2. Some states are forcing doctors to take Medicare and Medicaid patients by making this a requirement for a license to practice medicine in that state.

      Look for an outpouring of physicians and other healthcare professionals from those states.

  4. Oh, and although there are doctors that scam the system, most doctors are very careful with Medicare. Why? Because there is no due process with Medicare–if they suspect something, they can come in and close down your practice while they investigate. For weeks and months. And they can fine a doctor with little recourse. Doctors, in general, won’t risk this.

  5. CBS Evening News pointed out that the EPA budget would be cut 32% and the Department of Education will get a 10% cut.

    I think there are many excesses in government that could be eliminated.

    Also, I am opposed to Trump’s military parade in DC on the 4th of July. It is unnecessary spending.

    My neighbor goes to the US once a year to see family and have a physical. He has Medicare. Before he left he had his lab work done here because it is inexpensive. His doctor gave him a 20 minute visit and did not even look at the lab work. He ordered his own. The statement came it . It showed the doctor billed $3,700. My neighbor also has VA. He was very pleased with them.

    Even still Trump’s budget will have over a trillion dollar a deficit.

  6. If we don’t cut Medicare, how else can we pay for “Medicare for all, free college tuition, economic security for people unable to work, etc”

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