Analysis: Just a tenth of Trump's proposed Medicare cuts directly affect seniors

Analysis: Just a tenth of Trump's proposed Medicare cuts directly affect seniors
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Only about a tenth of the proposed Medicare cuts in President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE’s budget would directly impact seniors, according to a new analysis.

The analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) finds that the vast majority of the Medicare cuts in Trump’s budget, released on Monday, are to payments to hospitals and doctors, not cuts to benefits for seniors on the program.

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The study casts doubt on some of the claims from Democrats who have attacked Trump over the proposed Medicare cuts, arguing his actions will hurt seniors.

First, the analysis finds that the actual amount of Medicare cuts proposed in the budget are just over $500 billion, not the $845 billion number that has been widely cited.

The difference results from the fact that some funds are just being moved to other parts of the budget, not cut.

Of those roughly $500 billion in Medicare cuts, about 85 percent of the cuts come from reductions in Medicare’s payments to hospitals and doctors, not in cuts to seniors’ benefits, the analysis finds.

For example, one of the biggest Medicare changes in the budget would reduce certain payments to hospitals so that they are no longer paid more than a doctor’s office for performing the same service. That is an expansion of a proposal from President Obama.

CRFB notes that many of the proposed cuts “closely resemble or build upon proposals made in President Obama’s budgets.”

The one area of cuts that could actually raise costs for some seniors make up just 11 percent of the proposed Medicare cuts, the analysis finds.

Those changes are to a formula in Medicare Part D, Medicare’s prescription drug benefit, and would raise out-of-pocket costs for drugs for some seniors, while lowering costs for others.

“Outside of the Part D benefit redesign, there are no changes in premiums, deductible, copays, or co-insurance and no significant changes to benefits themselves,” the analysis finds. “In fact, reductions in provider payments will have the effect of reducing premiums and reducing other out-of-pocket costs.

While most of the proposed Medicare cuts in Trump’s budget do not directly affect seniors, there is a long history of Medicare cuts being used in political attacks.

For example, in the 2012 election, Republicans attacked Obama over some Medicare cuts in ObamaCare that also did not directly affect seniors.

The area in Trump’s budget where there are cuts that would far more significantly affect enrollees is Medicaid.

In that program, the administration proposes repealing ObamaCare’s expansion of the program and imposing cuts through putting a new cap on payments.

Those Medicaid changes, and many of the Medicare changes, are not expected to make it through Congress and become law.