‘He gave away the game’: Doctors Condemn Trump threat to slash Medicare funding

‘We've long suspected he would try to gut Medicare in a second term.’

An advocacy group composed of doctors and medical professionals on Wednesday joined the chorus denouncing President Donald Trump for threatening to slash Medicare and Social Security funding “at some point” should he win a second term in November.

Dr. Rob Davidson, a Michigan-based emergency physician and director of advocacy group Committee to Protect Medicare (CTP), said Trump’s threat “proves that he cannot be trusted and that he was never serious about making sure American families had quality healthcare.”

“Donald Trump went out of his way to fashion himself the pro-Medicare Republican during his first run for office,” said Davidson. “We’ve long suspected he would try to gut Medicare in a second term. Today he gave away the game.”

Trump told CNBC in an interview Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that cutting safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security—which provide life-saving benefits to tens of millions of Americans—is “actually the easiest of all things.”

“At some point they will be,” the president said when asked if his administration will ever put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. As Common Dreams reported in March, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal called for trillions of dollars in combined cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Trump also reportedly told Republican lawmakers last year that cutting Medicare and Social Security could be a “second-term project.”

Dr. Laurel Mark, a Wisconsin-based physician, said that by pushing for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Trump is attempting to fix “a budget problem he caused by giving our tax dollars to the wealthy and corporations.”

“At a time when out of pocket spending on health care continues to rise and the cost of medications is reaching into the stratosphere,” said Mark, “President Trump is now threatening to make matters worse by making deep cuts to the programs that provide basic needed medical care for our most vulnerable neighbors—our seniors, poor children and families, and disabled Americans.”

Trump’s remarks were met with anger by progressive advocacy groups that represent retirees and other recipients of Social Security and Medicare.

“After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The president’s comments also drew condemnation from the co-chairs of the House Expand Social Security Caucus, which is pushing legislation to strengthen Social Security benefits by raising taxes on the rich.

“President Trump once again revealed that he lives in a reality completely insulated from the hardships of Americans struggling to make ends meet, yet remains intent on paying for his tax cuts for giant corporations and billionaires by making deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in a statement Wednesday.

“Cutting earned benefits will plunge millions into poverty and jeopardize vulnerable seniors who have paid into these programs their entire lives,” Grijalva said.

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Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep.

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