Donald Trump once claimed he wants to keep Social Security and Medicare intact. But when he takes office, the people who voted for him may get a nasty surprise.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) just began doubling down on his scheme to shred Medicare. This federally run program provides seniors age 65 and over and disabled people with health care coverage. In an interview with Bret Baier from Fox News, Ryan said he wants to throw Medicare to the jackals and let them have their way with it.
‘This reform ensures affordability by fixing the currently broken subsidy system and letting market competition work as a real check on widespread waste and skyrocketing health-care costs.’
Apparently, Paul Ryan never got that memo from 2008. For most of us, the Great Recession proved beyond all doubt that for-profit companies and the so-called “free market” are terrible at cutting costs and checking waste and fraud. He also conveniently forgets that we are entitled to what Ryan sneeringly call “entitlements” because we pay into them our entire working lives.
The House Speaker and other budget-slashing Republicans don’t care that a vast majority of us oppose all cuts to Social Security and Medicare. A poll by NCPSSM/Lake Research poll found:
- “Voters strongly oppose cutting Social Security benefits with 71% opposed to means-testing and 67% opposed to raising the retirement age.”
- “64% strongly oppose cutting Medicare benefits for future retirees and 59% oppose cutting payments to Medicare providers.”
- “On Social Security, voters across party lines support lifting the cap on wages above the current level of $110,100. We know from focus groups that voters see this cap as an unfair loophole that they did not even know existed. Sixty-five (65) percent of voters favor gradually lifting this cap for both employees and employers, including 75 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents, and 54 percent of Republicans.”
- “On Medicare, overwhelming bi-partisan majorities support allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. Eighty-six (86) percent of voters favor this, including 77 percent who strongly favor it. By party, 91 percent of Democrats favor allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies (81 percent strongly favor), as do 85 percent of Independents (75 percent strongly favor), and 81 percent of Republicans (75 percent strongly favor).”
In fact, a Kaiser Poll revealed that 58 percent of us want Medicare expanded so all Americans can have a public option for their health care coverage. Among those who’ve opposed cutting or privatizing Social Security and Medicare was Donald Trump. Back in 2000 he wrote in his book, “The America We Deserve“:
‘I would never support what has to be the craziest ideas in the history of U.S. politics: allowing the government to invest Social Security retirement funds in the stock market. Not only would a market downturn spell disaster for millions of retirees, but the process by which government would choose stocks would also be entirely political, making lobbyists and other political hacks the new masters of the universe.’
And then in 2013, Donald Trump warned his fellow GOPers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that they can’t change Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare and still win votes.
‘As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen […] What we have to do and the way we solve our problems it to build a great economy.’
But now that the president-elect is no longer an outsider, he’s singing a different tune. During Tuesday’s PBS News Hour, Judy Woodruff asked senior adviser Kellyanne Conway whether her boss is “open to hearing” about Paul Ryan’s “premium support system” (privatization) for Medicare. Her vague response is not reassuring.
‘President-elect Trump has made very clear that he wants to make good on the promises that we as a nation have made to the seniors who rely upon Medicare, and certainly the lower income Americans who rely upon Medicaid and other entitlements like Social Security, frankly, for those who receive that.’
Kellyanne Conway added that Mein Trumpf is now willing to “take a look” at Paul Ryan’s proposal to raise the retirement age for Medicare, turn it into a voucher system, and have Wall Street manage the funds.
‘He will, I’m sure, take a look at Speaker Ryan’s proposal and other proposals. In this case, he will go ahead and look at alternatives…as long as it does not interfere with what he has said, his commitment to keep the promises to those currently relying on them.’
Watch: Donald Trump will “take a look” at Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal.
Here’s the video with Kellyanne Conway’s interview with PBS’ Judy Woodruff. The part where they discuss Medicare is at the 5:20 mark.
Those who hope a white supremacist movement to restore our nation’s former herrenvolk democracy will improve their economic prospects may bitterly regret voting for Donald Trump as we all learn the hard way that we get the America we deserve.
Featured image: The Washington Post via Getty Images.