Sanders slams Bush on Medicare
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersPoll shows 36 percent support Trump's reelection, 43 percent prefer generic Democrat Trump's approval rating holds steady at 45 percent amid government shutdown: poll Senate Dems introduce bill to keep DACA info private MORE (I-Vt.) slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday, after the Republican presidential contender suggested Medicare should be phased out.  

“It is an indication of how far right-wing the Republican Party has become when its 'moderate' candidate, Jeb Bush, at a forum sponsored by the billionaire Koch brothers, is now talking about phasing out Medicare," Sanders, who is also running for president, fired back in a statement. 
 
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Sanders tied Bush's remarks on Medicare to comments he made earlier this year that the retirement age for Social Security should be raised for future beneficiaries.
 
Speaking in New Hampshire on Wednesday evening, Bush said that while commitments to current Medicare beneficiaries should be fulfilled, "we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they're not going to have anything." 
 
The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is expected to be able to cover its obligations through 2030, according to annual trustees reports on the entitlement program released Wednesday.
 
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told reporters that while Medicare is currently stable, there are "challenges" that Congress need to tackle.
 
While lawmakers in both chambers have acknowledged that Medicare needs to be reformed to help expand the program's solvency, getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on the lightening-rod issue will likely be an uphill political battle. 
 
Sanders said on Thursday that instead of talking about phasing out Medicare, "it is important that we defend this enormously important program."
 
“Our goal as a nation should be to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all Americans, not end a highly-successful program which protects seniors and the disabled," the Vermont senator added.