Republicans planning to cut Social Security, Medicare

Published 8:25 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dear Editor,

One of Donald Trump’s campaign promises was that he would not in any way change or reduce the level of benefits of either Social Security or Medicare. He made that statement on numerous occasions. But like so many of his other promises, this one is a lie.

Trump is not even sworn in yet, but already House speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican henchmen are hard at work on their nefarious plans to cut both programs severely.

Regarding Social Security, their plans are to raise the retirement age by two more years, to reduce the already paltry formula that calculates cost of living adjustments, and to reduce the level of payments for those with other sources of earnings, i.e. pensions or IRA income. They plan no increases in revenue to support the solvency of the Social Security program, only cuts in benefits!

As regards Medicare, Ryan and HHS appointee Tom Price intend to do away with traditional Medicare and replace it with a voucher program. This means that beneficiaries will receive “premium support” (a euphemism for vouchers). We could then take those vouchers to private insurance companies and attempt to exchange them for a health insurance policy. There is no guarantee that the insurance companies will accept these vouchers or that the value of these vouchers will keep up with the increasing cost of the person’s health insurance policy. This is a blatant payoff to the big insurance companies and to big Parma who contribute heavily to Republican campaigns.

It should also be noted that traditional Medicare’s administrative costs are right at 3 percent. For private, for-profit health care insurance companies, those costs run 18-20 percent. So switching from traditional Medicare to 100-percent private insurance results in a double digit cost increase to the public and more money in the pockets of insurance companies executives.

Jim Porter

Danville