Some Senate Republicans won’t commit to an agenda that makes changes to Medicare in the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to Politico.
- President-elect Donald Trump had seemed reluctant to take on Medicare reform on the campaign trail, but has recently reversed course.
Republicans, who will take control of both chambers of Congress and the White House in 2017, are sending mixed signals on their willingness to take on Medicare reform. Taking on Medicare reform early in 2017 would be “biting off more than we can chew,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told Politico. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also dodged Politico's question about Medicare reform and other plans for Republican Senators. “I am not going to speculate on what the agenda may be on a variety of issues,” he said.
These comments suggest a disconnect with House Republicans. Rep. Price had called for Medicare reform in the first six to eight months of Trump’s first term. Sen. Ryan has proposed a plan to scrap traditional Medicare in favor of premium support for private health plans. He noted that the ACA made changes to Medicare and that any Republican-led health reform legislation should include changes to Medicare.
Senate Republicans seem to be shying away from Medicare reform due to polls that suggest most elderly Americans don’t want to see privatization changes to the public health plan. However, with all the backtracking and disagreement among Republicans in the Senate and the House, it is difficult to determine what course they will adopt when Trump’s term begins in January.