Trump’s budget cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, breaking core campaign promise

Ryan Koronowski

Ryan Koronowski Research Director, ThinkProgress

When he began his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

This is a promise, however, President Trump would like to break. Trump’s 2018 budget proposal would cut all three programs, which help the most vulnerable in American society, by billions of dollars.

Fox News’s website tells readers that Medicare is spared “as he promised during the 2016 campaign,” but a cursory search of the White House’s own budget document reveals this is not true.

The White House’s position is largely in line with the congressional GOP, which has also tried to pass a budget that would cut $1 trillion from Medicare and almost half a trillion from Medicaid.

Here is what the Trump administration’s budget proposal would do to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Cutting Medicare by $266 billion

The Trump budget document, titled “An American Budget: Major Savings and Reforms,” proposed cutting a net $266 billion under the category, “Medicare: Eliminate wasteful federal spending.” Among other things, Trump’s budget proposal changes the way patients are reimbursed for post-acute care, making it harder for physicians to refer patients to other providers, and “limits hospital payments associated with early discharge to hospices.”

Cutting Medicaid by $1.1 trillion

The Trump budget proposes cutting Medicaid, under the simple guise of “reforms,” by $1.1 trillion over 10 years. The goal is to encourage states to transition away from the Medicaid expansion that Obamacare allowed, in part by imposing a “Medicaid per capita cap and block grant with the Consumer Price Index.”

Cutting Social Security by $72 billion

The full budget document proposal lists “Reform disability programs” in line for a $72 billion decrease over the 10-year budget window. This includes explicit cuts to Supplemental Security Income programs and Social Security Disability Insurance programs, both managed by the Social Security Administration.

SSDI recipients are people who have become disabled and who have paid taxes into the Social Security Trust Fund, while SSI is needs-based — both programs have a lengthy waiting period before anyone receives benefits.

The cuts target retroactive SSDI benefits, multi-recipient SSI families, overlapping unemployment and disability payments, and other administration programs.

Last year, when an almost identical proposed cut in 2017’s budget document appeared, a source with knowledge of the budget told ThinkProgress that the cuts were of such a magnitude that it would be like making the program into a block grant.


UPDATE: This story has been updated to include clearer language about, and links to, the full budget proposal documents, following their inclusion on the public White House website.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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