News Release

Trump’s HHS Nominee Wants to Destroy Medicare


imrs-phpNANCY ALTMAN,  naltman[at], via Linda Benesch, lbenesch[at], @ssworks
Altman is co-director of Social Security Works. She just wrote the piece “Donald Trump’s New ‘Health’ Secretary Wants to Destroy Medicare,” which states: “Trump ran for President on a promise, repeatedly made, not to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. He knew very well that this was a huge departure from the position of other Republicans, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan and his fellow-travelers. Back in March, Trump drew an explicit contrast:

“‘You know, Paul [Ryan] wants to knock out Social Security, knock it down, way down. He wants to knock Medicare way down. I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.’

“Now that Trump is elected and no longer needs votes, it is clear that he was either lying or has become the puppet of Ryan and the rest of the Republican elite who have always hated Social Security and Medicare. In a sign that Ryan may be calling the shots, Trump has just announced that he is [nominating] Tom Price, one of Ryan’s top lieutenants, [to be his] Health and Human Services secretary.

“Price succeeded Ryan as chair of the House Budget Committee in January of 2016, and immediately put Social Security in his cross hairs. … Indeed, he actually said that ‘nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government’s intrusion into medicine through Medicare’ and ‘we will not rest until we make certain that government-run health care in ended.’ …

“Whether Trump never intended to keep his hands off Medicare or is simply caving to Ryan, the American people need to hold him accountable and demand that he keep his campaign promise. That starts with insisting that Trump revoke his nomination of Price, and if he refuses, demanding the Senate not confirm him. (Moderate Democrat Joe Donnolly has already announced that he will oppose Price. If Democrats stand united, it only takes three Republican Senators to reject the nomination.)

“Like Social Security, Medicare is overwhelmingly popular with Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. No one voted to destroy Medicare. If that is what Republican politicians want, they should have the courage of their convictions. Don’t act in the dead of night, as they appear to be planning to do. Rather, seek a mandate to destroy Medicare by running on that position in 2018. Romney-Ryan tried that in 2012, and we all know how that turned out.”