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President Trump’s executive order: ‘Protecting Medicare from Socialist Destruction’

October 3, 2019

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Annie Karni and Abby Goodnough
The New York Times, October 3, 2019, Updated 2:38 p.m. ET

President Trump is expected to unveil a new executive order on Thursday afternoon that calls for expanding the benefits offered by private Medicare plans, framing the decision as the responsible alternative to the “Medicare-for-All” policies supported by some of his Democratic political opponents.

The executive order, originally called “Protecting Medicare from Socialist Destruction,” was renamed “Protecting and Improving Medicare for our Nation’s Seniors” ahead of Mr. Trump’s speech.

Joe Grogan, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said that the goal was to contrast what he said was the administration’s commitment to protecting seniors with “the vision for Medicare as a one-size-fits-all, single-payer system” supported by many Democratic candidates. He said the plan offered by Democrats would destroy health benefits for seniors who had paid into this program for their entire lives.

“Medicare for all is Medicare for none,” added Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who has been a vocal critic not just of the Democrats’ proposals, but also of the Affordable Care Act. “Proposals like Medicare for All, as well as the public option, they are morally wrong because they would demote American seniors to second-class status.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly promised to unveil a new health care plan; instead he has issued a series of executive orders and proposed rules to counter Democratic health care proposals for expanding coverage.



By Don McCanne, M.D.

Sorry. Today’s message was to have been on President Trump’s executive order on “Protecting Medicare from Socialist Destruction,” though they changed the name to “Protecting and Improving Medicare for our Nation’s Seniors.” I listened to Trump’s uninformative harangue before he signed the executive order, but they have not released it yet.

Wait! Hold the presses! The White House just released the following Fact Sheet:

President Donald J. Trump’s Healthcare Agenda Puts Seniors and American Patients First

The White House, October 3, 2019

“We will not rest until Americans have the healthcare system they need and deserve, a system that finally puts American patients first.” – President Donald J. Trump

PUTTING AMERICAN PATIENTS FIRST: Since the beginning of his Administration, President Trump has put patients first so every American has the highest quality of healthcare in the world.

  • Making healthcare more affordable by lowering out of control prescription drug prices and making new affordable healthcare options available.
  • Putting patients in control of their healthcare by finally providing transparency and choice so every American can choose the care that fits their needs.
  • Unleashing American innovation to provide new treatment options for patients living with disease.

PUTTING AMERICAN SENIORS FIRST: President Trump is taking action to protect and improve the Medicare system for America’s seniors.

  • President Trump is signing a new Executive Order to improve seniors’ healthcare and improve the fiscal sustainability of Medicare. The order will advance policies that:
    • Empower patients by giving them more plan choices, more access to telehealth and new therapies, and more time with providers.
    • Streamline the approval of therapies, while reducing obstacles to improved patient care.
    • Improve quality by implementing reforms that better link payments to value.
    • Protect beneficiaries by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.
    • Maximize freedom for Medicare patients and providers by reducing regulatory burdens and eliminating unnecessary barriers.
  • President Trump is putting seniors first by strengthening the Medicare system and helping ensure the program’s availability for years to come.
    • Medicare-for-All bills proposed by Democrats in Congress threaten to end the Medicare program as we know it and eliminate choice for America’s seniors.
    • Seniors are overwhelmingly satisfied with their Medicare coverage and President Trump will stand up to protect it.
  • This order will improve the ability of seniors to make choices about their insurance, helping them access the best healthcare providers and the latest innovative therapies.

PROTECTING VULNERABLE AMERICANS: President Trump is committed to protecting vulnerable American patients and families.

  • The President has reaffirmed that protecting Americans with preexisting conditions is fundamental to his healthcare agenda.
  • President Trump is committed to ending surprise billing so no American is ever blindsided by medical bills for services they never agreed to.
    • The President has put forward principles on surprise billing to ensure patients are not taken advantage of and have the information they need to make informed decisions.
    • More than two-thirds of Americans worry about unexpected medical bills, according to a 2018 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

PROVIDING AFFORDABLE OPTIONS: By lowering costs, President Trump is making sure every American can afford high quality healthcare.

  • Last year, President Trump released a historic blueprint to drive down drug prices.
  • Medicare Advantage premiums will drop next year to their lowest level since 2007, a 28 percent decrease since 2017.
  • Medicare Part D premiums next year will be their lowest in the last 7 years.
  • Prescription drug prices fell in 2018 for the first year in nearly five decades.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved a record number of generic drugs in 2017 and 2018 that will improve competition and drive down prices.
    • New generic drug approvals saved consumers $26 billion through the first year and a half of President Trump’s Administration.
  • The Trump Administration laid the foundation to start importing certain prescription drugs that are cheaper in other countries.

PUTTING PATIENTS IN CONTROL: President Trump is making sure patients control their own healthcare by empowering them to make informed decisions and giving them more choices.

  • The number of Medicare Advantage plans available to our seniors has increased by nearly 1,200 over the last two years.
  • President Trump is working to expand Association Health Plans, which make it easier for employers to join together and offer more affordable health coverage to their employees.
  • Through Health Reimbursement Arrangements, employers will be able to help their employees pay for the cost of insurance that they select in the individual market.
  • The Administration expanded the availability of short-term, limited duration plans, which offer flexible coverage options and can be up to 60 percent cheaper than Obamacare plans.
  • President Trump is working to ensure hospitals cannot hide prices for their services, requiring them to publicize more data and put quality and price information into patients’ hands.
  • The President signed legislation ending “gag” clauses that prevented pharmacists from providing patients with information about lower cost options.
  • President Trump signed legislation ending Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, which forced many Americans to buy health plans they did not want.
  • The Trump Administration is working to provide electronic health records to patients by requiring providers to give patients their data.

ENSURING HIGH QUALITY CARE: President Trump is working to promote innovative solutions and expand treatment options for Americans living with disease.

  • President Trump launched an effort to improve kidney health and treatment in America, giving hope to the over 30 million Americans afflicted with kidney disease.
  • The Administration has significantly increased funding for opioid and pain research and is supporting research for a vaccine to prevent opioid addiction.
    • Drug overdose deaths declined nationally last year for the first time in decades.
  • President Trump signed into law $1 billion in increased Alzheimer’s research funding, reflecting his commitment to finding a cure.
  • The Trump Administration is working to encourage new, innovative approaches to treating childhood cancer.
  • President Trump signed Right to Try legislation to give terminally ill patients the ability to access potentially lifesaving cures.
  • The President launched an initiative to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years.


Further comment:

By Don McCanne, M.D.

We waited for this? Now I’m really sorry.


By Don McCanne, M.D.

This is the link to President Trump’s “Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors” – the subject of today’s Quote of the Day:


It seems to be primarily anti-government rather than pro-patient.

For a much more honest perspective, your time would be better spent reading the brief, five paragraph statement from Eagan Kemp of Public Citizen:


Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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