Senate Dems allege budget cuts over $470B from Medicare

Senate Dems allege budget cuts over $470B from Medicare
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats say Republicans plan to slash Medicare spending by more than $470 billion in the proposed budget resolution, breaking a campaign promise by President Trump not cut Medicare.

According to a new report prepared for Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee, the budget would cut Medicaid by more than $1 trillion and Medicare by more than $470 billion.

The cuts would be used to pay “for trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations,” committee Democrats said.

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While spending cuts would be part of the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, they are not detailed in any of the public documents, and there are no policy proposals that show how the cuts would be enacted.

Democrats point to tables in the budget’s supporting documentation that would reduce spending by $473 billion for Medicare and twice that amount for Medicaid.

“The American people are going to hate this plan, because they don’t want tax cuts for the rich and they don’t want cuts for Medicaid and Medicare,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.) said.

In total, the budget would cut more than $5 trillion from domestic programs over a decade, but doesn’t provide many details on which programs specifically would be targeted.  

While the budget’s passage would not in and of itself enact the cuts into Medicare and Medicaid, Democrats fret that the inclusion of the cuts is a clear statement of intent for how Republicans approach the programs.

Democratic leadership from the House and Senate sent Trump a letter on the matter, noting that he had campaigned on preserving the integrity of such entitlement programs.

“Medicare and Medicaid should not be used to finance new tax breaks for the wealthy, and we request that you pledge to veto any legislation that includes these cuts,” the letter said.

A GOP aide denied there are any Medicare cuts in the budget and that it merely assumes a slower rate of Medicare spending growth.

"Slowing the growth of Medicare will help make the program more sustainable and ensure it is able to keep providing the vital services that millions of people rely on," the aide said.