And the tug of war continues for control of the Republican Party.
Despite campaign promises and using plenty of “trust me” phrases scattered throughout speeches from President Donald Trump, Medicare cuts appear to be part of the plan for the Republican Party’s budget. The latest proposal from the Senate Budget Committee includes reducing Medicare spending by roughly $450 billion over the next 10 years. Along with that, the House has produced similar proposals to the program.
While the proposal is not likely to pass, this is another staggering signal to the Trump administration that the Republican Party is not under the president’s control and has no interest in working together as a united party, much less utilizing bipartisan tactics.
This isn’t the first time that deep cuts to the program have been on the table for Republicans. Speaker Paul Ryan has been planning for years to gut Medicare and other programs, such as welfare and food stamps.
However, Trump has stated repeatedly that Social Security and Medicare are off limits to these cuts.
So why is there such a disconnect in the party?
Soon, Republicans will attempt to pass what can only be described as a massive tax cut, meaning that the higher tax brackets will not pay as much taxes. Add to this that the defense budget will be seeing significant increases, totaling around $929 billion over the next decade.
That means that something has to lose. According to the proposed budget, major slashes to safety net programs like Medicaid and Medicare appear to be the only way they seem to be able to make up the difference.
They’re defying Trump’s calls to exclude Medicare from these massive cuts on all fronts. The House’s budget would also enact work requirements on welfare and food stamp recipients.
Do not forget what Medicare pays for. It’s not just about health insurance. Future doctors are paid through Medicare subsidies during their residency years. If cuts are made to the program, hospitals may be forced to take on more of their salaries in a time when many are closing their doors because patients cannot afford to pay their bills.
Both the House’s and Senate’s proposed budget plans have been criticized for not aligning with the president, the de facto leader of the party. However, reducing spending on Medicare has been a Republican Party mantle for years, and they are not going to give it up without a fight, it seems.
Trump’s own party has called his promises a fantasy, and the defiance continues in a way that’s reminiscent of China trying to get North Korea under control.