A total of 21 Democrat U.S. senators, including Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, sent a letter Wednesday to President-elect Donald Trump to remind him of his campaign promises to reject cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and to ask that he clarify whether he still intends to do so.
The letter was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.,) Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Robert P. Casey (D-Pa.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
“During your campaign for President of the United States, you differentiated yourself from your 16 primary opponents by noting that you were the only Republican who would protect Medicare and Medicaid,” the senators wrote. “After winning the election, you suddenly appear to be using language supporting policies that would gut the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
The letter continues, “Over one hundred million Americans rely on these programs for health care. Low-income children and families and people with disabilities are the primary beneficiaries of Medicaid. Millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities have earned and rely on their Medicare benefits. Medicaid is the only assistance available to millions of low and middle-income families who have a loved one requiring nursing home care. As you noted when you extolled their benefits on your campaign website, cutting these programs would be devastating.”
The senators’ letter draws attention to differences between the President-Elect’s statements during the campaign, which were highlighted on his campaign website, and statements that are now posted on his transition website. These new policy positions contradict President-Elect Trump’s promises as a candidate to protect Medicare and Medicaid, instead echoing Congressional Republicans’ plans to cut these programs. The letter also notes that the President-Elect’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has been a “leading architect” of such plans.
The senators pressed President-Elect Trump to live up to his campaign promises and reject any cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
They wrote, “We ask that you rapidly and publicly clarify in plain language for the American public that you continue to stand behind your campaign promises; that you will not raise the Medicare eligibility age; that you will not privatize, voucherize, or otherwise cut Medicare benefits; and that you will not put in place changes to Medicaid that force enrollees’ coverage to be dropped and benefits to be cut or limited. You promised Americans you would not cut Medicare or Medicaid — please tell Americans you will stand by your promise to them.”