Trump Senior Care|Stock Photo

Trump said he would consider cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Senator Martha McSally has not voiced concern over the potential impact.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he will consider cutting “entitlement” programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) called his announcement a “cruel irony” that “cannot be overstated.”

The announcement, made during the World Economic Forum’s summit of global elites in Davos, is a retraction from Trump’s campaign promise. The policy shift has seniors and senior advocates like the ARA on the defensive.

“While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the ARA, in a statement.

Fiesta added that Medicare and Social Security are vital to retirement security, and cutting both would be a “cruel disaster.”

“Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” Fiesta continued. “This burden and affording other basic necessities make it harder for retirees to make ends meet.”

In Arizona, 1.3 million seniors rely on Medicare for health care, and continual threats to that and Social Security has state lawmakers speaking out against the Trump administration.

Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) said in a statement that proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare suggests President Trump “lives in a reality completely insulated from the hardships of Americans struggling to make ends meet.”

“Cutting earned benefits will plunge millions into poverty and jeopardize vulnerable seniors who have paid into these programs their entire lives,” Grijalva continued.

Additionally, Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), said in a statement, “To the disappointment of many seniors, Donald Trump broke a major promise [Wednesday] by announcing his support for cutting Medicare. But that’s up to Congress, not the president.”

Gallego also called out Sen. Martha McSally to tell Arizonans if she supports Trump’s position. Thus far, McSally has fully supported the President’s policies. 

“Martha McSally has to tell Arizonans whether she stands with Trump or stands with seniors and future generations who will rely on Medicare for critical health care,” Gallego said.

McSally continues to face backlash from senior advocates for her healthcare voting record, including her inability to commit to H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, passed last year in the House. 

In addition to commentary from senior advocates and local lawmakers, Copper Courier talked to Arizona seniors about the potential impact of those cuts.

In regards to Trump considering cuts to Social Security, which is the only source of income for 4 in 10 seniors, Gold Canyon resident Stephen Vielleux told Copper Courier “that’s always concerning.”

Vielleux said he’s not sure where he’s looking for cuts, but with Trump, “he’s not always specific, and when he’s specific, he’s usually wrong.”

At the Chandler Senior Center, Mary Ann Ringemann said she’s not sure what to believe at this point in regards to potential cuts to Medicare or Social Security.

“Trump says one thing and does another,” she said.

Baban Mahale, another resident at the Senior Center, said medical expenses are not affordable as is, and insurance is costly. He added that politicians need to take senior needs into consideration because they are “the pillar of the nation.”