What Is the Trump Medicare Plan?

What Is the Trump Medicare Plan?

While healthcare will likely be a significant issue as candidates hit the campaign trail in the coming year, there is no official Trump Medicare plan on record or one for the Republican platform. At present, the party and president have no intentions to unveil a plan until after the 2020 election, though this may be subject to change, especially as Democratic primaries draw nearer and healthcare remains an important talking point. Still, this does not mean that even now, one cannot see what the year holds for seniors and other Medicare recipients in New Jersey and other states. The budget for Medicare 2020 is known, though it may go through changes and revisions in the months between now and January 1.

How Will Medicare in 2020 Be Affected by the Budget?

As noted when discussing the Republican Medicare Plan, there were promises in 2016 not to touch Medicare. This has changed, with a proposed 10 percent cut to Medicare that could add up to around $845 billion in cuts. However, plans are to make those cuts by phasing out wasteful spending and lowering prescription costs. Some changes this will include are:

  • Establishing a new payment system for post-acute care;
  • Limiting medical malpractice awards;
  • Reduce Medicare coverage of bad debts; and
  • Paying for all doctor and outpatient services at the same rate regardless of provider location.

At present, the proposal suggests that this would extend the shelf life of the Hospital Insurance trust fund by eight years, projected to deplete by 2026 under current law.  

How Will Trump's Budget Affect Medicare Part D?

Initial reports on Trump's 2020 budget in March of 2019 suggested reformations on Medicare Part D, notably eliminating provisions to do with negotiating drug prices on protected classes of prescription drugs. As of May 2019, the party has changed its stance on this after many recipients voiced their disagreement. While Trump's Medicare Plan still aims to lower prescription drug prices, this reverse may make that goal more challenging to achieve. In short:

  • The budget intended to change a requirement that Part D cover protected classes of prescription drugs in six categories, regardless of price. This allowed Medicare patients to access this needed medication, often for chronic conditions, without breaking the bank.
  • The issue with this is that while the law protects Medicare D beneficiaries, it does not stop pharmaceutical companies from raising prices on the drugs to unaffordable heights and increasing the cost to run the program.
  • The new plan would have placed the onus on drug companies to regulate themselves and avoid overcharging on protected classes of drugs.
  • The Trump and the Republican party budget has since walked back changes on this front, and for now, it remains in place as is.

However, despite this setback, some changes are still in the works, including reducing out-of-pocket costs for some higher-spending patients and raising premiums for patients whose drug spending is deemed too high.

Do you have additional questions about Medicare 2020 and the budget? Contact an unbiased advisor at New Jersey Medicare Brokers LLC.

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