Medicare Cuts Spark Election Controversy as Biden Faces Criticism from Trump

Medicare benefits have become a significant election issue, placing President Biden in a challenging position with senior voters after reducing benefits for the popular Medicare Advantage program ahead of the election.

During a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia, former President Donald Trump criticized Biden, claiming, “I will not cut one penny from Social Security or Medicare, which Joe Biden is destroying by letting millions of people come into our country. He’s destroying Medicare and Social Security.”

Trump continued, “Joe Biden has cut Medicare Advantage for the last two years. Did you know that? He’s cut your Medicare Advantage, which is a total betrayal of seniors. And just check, you’ll see it. He has cut you down for two years straight.” as reported by Fox News.

The topic resurfaced during the first presidential debate, where Biden’s performance included a gaffe saying, “We finally beat Medicare,” which Trump quickly rebuked by stating, “He’s right, he did beat Medicare, beat it to death.”

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans private health insurance plans that contract with Medicare, are used by over 33 million Americans, primarily adults over 65 and people with disabilities. In April, the Biden administration finalized plans to cut MA benefits, which experts say could increase out-of-pocket costs by $33 a month, or $396 a year, for enrollees. Critics argue these cuts would be particularly harmful to seniors on fixed incomes amid ongoing inflation.

Former nurse and Republican congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle criticized the cuts, suggesting they could jeopardize Biden’s support from the 33 million Americans enrolled in MA plans. “By letting far-left socialists control his policy agenda, Biden made a huge blunder that will jeopardize his support from the 33 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans who will see their premiums go up, co-pays increase, and benefits decline before November,” Buerkle said.

The left-wing faction of Congress continues to promote “Medicare-for-all” legislation, aiming for a universal single-payer health insurance system. Buerkle suggested that the Biden administration’s cuts to MA might be a strategic move to favor a government-focused system.

The Biden administration refuted claims of cutting Medicare, calling such assertions “categorically false” and emphasizing that “protecting Medicare is a key priority.” They highlighted a proposed 1% increase in payments to insurance companies providing MA to ensure accurate and appropriate compensation for covered services received by enrollees. report from Politico.

Buerkle argued that cuts to MA could be a “winning issue for Republicans,” noting that states that voted for Trump in 2016 but switched to Biden in 2020 have a significant number of seniors relying on MA. “51% of Medicare-eligible Americans choose MA, and that number grows each year. Nearly all of them self-report satisfaction with the program,” Buerkle said.

Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt reiterated Trump’s commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare, contrasting it with Biden’s approach. “President Trump delivered on his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare in his first term, and President Trump will continue to strongly protect Social Security and Medicare in his second term,” Leavitt said.

While Biden administration officials believe benefits for enrollees will remain stable through next year, researchers suggest the Biden campaign is taking a risk with these cuts ahead of the election. “President Biden’s team is gambling that MA beneficiaries won’t realize before the election the benefits Biden’s team is causing them to lose come January 2025,” said Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins.