Blog | Social Security and Retirement

The President’s Broken Promises on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Donald Trump made a straightforward promise to the American people when he asked for their votes: He would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Unlike the way many politicians talk, he did not qualify or hedge this promise to give him an out if he changed his mind later, and many Americans took his promise at face value.

Here’s just one of the times Trump made this promise:

Fast-forward to this Tuesday—just 123 days into his presidency. Trump released his first budget, and he clearly and undeniably is breaking this promise. Here’s how:

The Trump budget cuts Social Security’s earned benefits by up to $64 billion over 10 years. It makes direct cuts in Social Security benefits, including a 50% cut in the maximum retroactive benefit a worker can receive after she is first approved for disability benefits. This means an average cut of $7,000. It also targets benefits for people with severe, long-term disabilities by forcing participation in test projects designed to keep or stop workers from getting benefits. It ties these projects to a requirement that total Social Security disability benefit payments be cut by 5% by 2027.

The Trump budget cuts Medicare by $59 billion over 10 years. This cut is part of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), which has been endorsed by Trump and is incorporated into his budget. It repeals the additional Medicare tax on individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $250,000 a year. This Medicare cut depletes the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund two years sooner than expected and increases the fund’s long-run shortfall by more than half.

The Trump budget cuts Medicaid by as much as $1.5 trillion over 10 years. This includes more than $850 billion in cuts that are part of the House-passed health care bill and $610 billion in new cuts on top of those. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the provisions in the AHCA will cut off 14 million people from Medicaid within 10 years. With its new funding cuts, the budget likely will cut off millions more people from coverage.