AARP Chief Executive Officer Jo Ann Jenkins called on congressional leaders Thursday to keep their promise to America’s seniors and prevent a large cut to Medicare that the tax bill now being debated on Capitol Hill would trigger.
The tax measure would result in a $1.5 trillion increase in the federal deficit over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Such a deficit would prompt an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare as soon as January 2018 because of the “pay-as-you-go” law, commonly referred to as PAYGO.
Washington Post reported that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that congressional Republicans will aim next year (2018) to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America’s deficit.
Ryan said that he believes he has begun convincing President Trump in their private conversations about the need to rein in Medicare, the federal health program that primarily insures the elderly. As a candidate, Trump vowed not to cut spending on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
“The sudden cut to Medicare provider funding in 2018 would have an immediate and lasting impact, including fewer providers participating in Medicare and reduced access to care for Medicare beneficiaries,” AARP’s Jenkins wrote. Health care providers might stop taking Medicare patients, she added, even as 10,000 older adults are enrolling in the health program each day.