Tags: Trump | Medicare | Vow | Doubts | Tom Price | HHS

The Hill: Trump's Medicare Vow Facing Doubts With Price as HHS Pick

Image: The Hill: Trump's Medicare Vow Facing Doubts With Price as HHS Pick

(AP)

By    |   Thursday, 01 Dec 2016 07:32 AM

President-elect Donald Trump vowed during his campaign that he wouldn't cut Medicare or other entitlement programs, but Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who he tagged this week as his Health and Human Services secretary, backs a plan that would end guaranteed government coverage for seniors.

"What we propose would ensure these programs have not just a future but a brighter one," Price said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation in 2014, reports The Hill on Thursday. 

"Reform is the avenue to improvement of services as much as a way to stave off fiscal collapse."

Price, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, backs a plan to turn Medicare into a "premium support" system, meaning seniors would receive a specific amount of money from the government that would help them buy health coverage from a private company, rather than participate in government-run Medicare coverage.

Democrats say the plans ends guaranteed coverage, and that the financial assistance would not keep up with rising healthcare costs, meaning seniors could end up paying more of their own costs.

Proponents, however, say changes are needed to make Medicare more efficient and will save the government money, and warn the program will become insolvent if left alone.

While campaigning, Trump told The Daily Signal that he was "not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid."

On Tuesday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, who will be the Democratic Minority Leader next year, accused Republicans of waging a "war on seniors."

"We say to our Republicans who want to privatize Medicare: Go try it, make our day," he commented.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted an image of Trump's promise on entitlements:

 

 

Price and Ryan say they are serious about the Medicare changes, with Price telling reporters this month that lawmakers can fast-track reconciliation to push a Medicare overhaul through the Senate with 50 votes.

Kaiser Family Foundation Medicare expert Tricia Neuman told The Hill that the program does have pending problems, but it is still projected to remain solvent through 2028.

A premium support system, however, would allow private insurance companies to compete with the traditional system, said American Enterprise Institute healthcare expert Tom Miller.

"It sets the table for saying, if private plans do a better job, they'll get more people and offer better prices," Miller said. "Don't be afraid to find out what that answer is."

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President-elect Donald Trump vowed during his campaign that he wouldn't cut Medicare or other entitlement programs, but Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga...
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Thursday, 01 Dec 2016 07:32 AM
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