Help me help my mom prepare for the impending end of Medicare?
November 10, 2016 6:19 PM   Subscribe

So. It's a foregone conclusion that Medicare/Medicaid will be gutted as soon as Trump takes office, and Paul Ryan has free reign over Congress. My mother is in her 70s, and has several chronic health issues (arthritis in various forms, scoliosis, a heart valve problem, lupus, and a degenerative cornea disease that will require a cornea transplant soon, among other issues). My older brother, who lives with her, has CIDP, severe bipolar, and is on disability. Both rely on Medicare/Medicaid.

Mom still works full-time, and has no savings -- taking care of my brother before he got his disability took whatever she had. What, if anything, can she do now to try to prepare for Medicare being gutted and turned into a voucher system? Are there resources she could take advantage of now?

(She is in Vermont, by the way.)
posted by sarcasticah to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
One sure way for both the House and Senate to flip to the Democrats in two years would be for the Republicans to mess with Medicare. I think the chances for this are slim.

Also, keep in mind that the Democrats in the Senate still have the power to filibuster major legislation like this.

In terms of preparing for this, not much she can do until we know what is planned, but as noted the chances of this happening are slim.
posted by mygoditsbob at 7:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [16 favorites]

I agree this is not an imminent concern. On Medicare, as on Social Security, Trump has said he opposes cuts. That's of course no guarantee, but even Ryan's Medicare plan would have grandfathered in current Medicare beneficiaries, so your mother and brother are unlikely to be greatly affected.

On Medicaid, I'd be less confident, but any changes would take at least years to pass and implement. In addition, it's a joint state/federal program. Vermont has one of if not the most generous Medicaid program, and they'd likely shelter their citizens as much as possible from federal cuts.

Finally, even the most severe proposals would reduce spending by a few percent a year. That would have significant real-world consequences, but it's not as if people on Medicare and Medicaid would suddenly lose access to health care.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

They talk about privatizing Medicare every time there is a presidential election. It never happens. I rely on Medicare for health care and I am way more worried about the Supreme Court than his blustering about an overhaul of healthcare.

Like someone else said there is nothing to do at this point.
posted by cairnoflore at 8:30 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Nothing will happen to Medicare. Fucking with Medicare is political suicide as all savvy operatives on the national scene are aware. What will happen to state Medicaid programs is a little less clear, but probably a whole lot less drastic than what you may be expecting.
posted by killdevil at 9:19 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

I agree with you that Paul Ryan's dream scenario would be to cut Medicare and other social entitlements; however, this does not seem to be Trump's plan, and I think your mother is okay.

In these trying times, please remember that the Republicans are in as much disarray as the Democrats are. Just look at these comments by Trump - these are very far removed from Republican orthodoxy.

Don't expect a Conservative Movement - instead expect a Populist (Nativist?) one. I would wager that Obamacare, Medicare, Social Security all remain after 4 years. These are all social entitlements that Trump's base rely on.

Now immigration, on the other hand....
posted by unexpected at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2016

There are 55 million Americans currently receiving Medicare benefits. No politician is going to anger us.
posted by Carol Anne at 7:18 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for talking me down. I feel less panicky now.
posted by sarcasticah at 10:14 AM on November 12, 2016

Carol Anne: "There are 55 million Americans currently receiving Medicare benefits. No politician is going to anger us."

Ryan would likely aim to "phase out" Medicare rather than end it immediately, grandfathering in current and near-future enrollees while screwing over the younger cohort (who don't vote for Republicans anyway, when they vote at all). Typical divide-and-conquer, fuck-you-got-mine strategy.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:50 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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