Republicans Divide over Medicare, Social Security Widens
One of the more interesting dynamics playing out with Republican presidential candidates is the adamancy each has for his version of a better American healthcare system, especially when it comes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Recently, those dynamics have included open arguments, or as one journalist put it, they’re “openly feuding… (about) drastic changes”.
Now, though, some are concerned about long term damage to the party. Further complicating matters is House Speaker Paul Ryan (R WI). His plans include a “bold alternative agenda” that includes what he says are major revisions in entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. As Dr. Ben Carson pushes for a total annihilation of the programs, Donald Trump railing against proposals to end or significantly change Medicare.
This is all part of a larger argument among Republicans over which policies will earn the most votes and how far any of them should push for those changes, especially when it affects Obamacare in such a drastic way. Historically, that’s not been a well-received effort. During the last GOP presidential nominee three years ago, Mitt Romney and Ryan, his running mate, were met with fierce Democratic resistance after they too endorsed overhauling Medicare and Social Security.
“This is the biggest fault line in the party: whether Republicans should be talking about reducing benefits,” conservative economist Stephen Moore said in an interview. “Republicans have fallen on their sword for 30 years trying to reform Social Security and Medicare, but the dream lives on — and it makes everyone nervous. Some see a political trap; others see it as necessary.”
There are those, specifically Ryan, who supports privatizing Social Security, cutting Medicaid drastically and turning Medicare into a voucher based program. This would allow private insurance to be purchased with federal subsidies. Now that he’s in the role of House speaker, he’s once again sounding those horns. Democrats are not happy.
And speaking of Democrats, in November, Hillary Clinton, while out campaigning, was asked about Ryan’s efforts. Her reply was simple and clear: “It’s a terrible idea.” She then said, “Talk about giveaways to Wall Street — this would be the biggest giveaway ever.”
For now, it appears Republican Donald Trump has the right answer, even if it’s less of a solution in the here and now, “Ben wants to get rid of Medicare,” Trump said during a recent news conference. “You can’t get rid of Medicare. It’d be a horrible thing to get rid of. It actually works. You get rid of the fraud, waste and abuse — it works.”
Now that Medicare has been in place for fifty years, there’s a new focus on its role. The politics, as one would expect, are heated. For seniors and the elderly, it’s a different mindset: they worry about the coverage and their protection. As estate planning lawyers, we understand that. If you’d like to learn more, please contact our offices today. Our team of qualified estate planning lawyers can help find the right solutions for you or your loved one’s needs. We stand ready to provide that guidance.