Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting the local impact of Trump’s policies in key counties in MI, PA, WI, and FL.
Repeatedly during his 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump promised that he would not cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump said in 2015.
Then Trump became President Trump, and he reeled right around and attempted to do just that. And in Jefferson County, Florida — a key swing county Trump must win back should he want Florida’s 29 electoral votes — these potential cuts could conjure a nightmare scenario for thousands of its senior residents.
According to a review by American Ledger, over 10 years President Trump’s budget would cut Medicare spending by $845 billion, including cuts to prescription drug coverage, hospital reimbursements, and by reclassifying spending away from Medicare. President Trump also placed a bullseye on Medicaid, his proposed budget could cut the program by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, and allocate $1.2 trillion into a new state block grant program, which could significantly decrease the amount of coverage received by those currently enrolled in Medicaid.
Currently, there are over 3,500 Jefferson County residents enrolled in Medicare, and over 2,000 enrolled in Medicaid. Trump’s budget cuts for these programs could place many of these people in jeopardy of losing some of the health coverage they depend on.
In a statement, Chip Kahn, President of The Federation of American Hospitals, said this part of Trump’s proposed budget, “imposes arbitrary and blunt Medicare cuts to hospitals who care for the nation’s most vulnerable. The impact on care for seniors would be devastating.”
President Trump’s proposed budget also directly attempts to gut funding for Social Security by nearly $25 billion. If this budget came to pass, nearly 4,000 Jefferson County seniors currently enrolled in Social Security could see some of the retirement benefits they have likely been paying into their entire adult life, clawed away.
Jefferson County narrowly supported the President by just 389 votes in the 2016 presidential election, after previously supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. With a margin that narrow, Trump will need every single vote he can get should he want to win the swing county — and Florida — again in 2020.
And with his record of attempting to cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in Jefferson County, it remains unclear if Trump will get them.