Linda Delaney: Trump’s wish list for seniors
February 27, 2018
Despite President Donald Trump's many promises during his campaign to not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, he now keeps proposing to cut all three. He wants to cut $1.8 trillion to the three programs. On top of that, he proposes to slash Meals on Wheels, home heating assistance and other programs on which many seniors rely.
It is noteworthy that Republicans just passed, for almost the same amount, a huge tax giveaway to their donors. So that's the Republican plan: Save money by gutting programs for the elderly and transfer the savings to the billionaire class.
Even though Congress just passed a two-year spending plan, Trump's budget wishes say a lot about the administration's stand on social programs. This Congress and this administration show little interest or competence in governing for the public good. The GOP no longer objects to big government, but it wants its big government to serve the wealthy and rejects providing services that help everyday Americans.
Forbes magazine says Trump's wish list for seniors includes:
- Freezing most funding under the Older Americans Act, which provides money for social and nutrition services for seniors including Meals on Wheels. It would cut funding for disability programs by about 30 percent.
- Getting rid of federal block grants that states use to fund programs for seniors.
- Creating a new six-week family leave program. His program would exclude people caring for frail parents or other relatives with disabilities. It would focus only on parents of newborns (and sometimes adoptees). Families are not just parents and babies. There are millions of adult children — usually daughters — who put their paid jobs at risk by taking time off to help frail parents or disabled siblings.
- Restructuring Medicare drug benefits to reduce costs for some beneficiaries but raise them for others. Eliminating cost-sharing for seniors with very high prescription drug costs, but at the same time increasing out-of-pocket expenses for many others, especially those who have significant costs but have not quite reached the threshold where medicine would be free ($8,418 this year).
- Eliminating the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which provides job training to low-income job seekers 55 and older.
The president proposes these cuts because he needs someone to pay for the massive tax giveaways to the wealthy that have increased the deficit by over $1 trillion. Unfortunately, those left behind by the tax bill are the same people being asked to shoulder the burden of these cuts.
Americans deserve better from a president who pledged to protect seniors, only to turn his back on them in office. Congress must reject this dark vision for our country and invest in real solutions to make health care more accessible and affordable for seniors and for all Americans.
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