Schumer: Republicans Are 'Plotting a War on Seniors'

By Susan Jones | November 30, 2016 | 5:45am EST
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) speak to reporters on Capitol Hill. (AP File Photo)

( - During the presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump said he would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, but no matter.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the next Senate minority leader, on Tuesday warned that Republicans are "plotting a war on seniors."

The New York Democrat said he was "so disappointed" that Trump has nominated Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be his Health and Human Services secretary. "When it comes to issues like Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood, Congressman Price and the average American couldn't be further apart," Schumer told a news conference on Capitol Hill.


"Between this nomination of an avowed Medicare opponent and Republicans here in Washington threatening to privatize Medicare, it's clear that Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year. Every senior, every American should hear this loudly and clearly Democrats will not let them win that fight."

Schumer said Republicans tried to privatize Social Security after the 2004 elections: "And now, after the 2016 elections, it seems that they're intent on trying the same trick on Medicare. Just as their efforts failed then, they will fail now. We say to our Republicans that want to privatize Medicare -- go try it, make our day.

"Democrats from blue states, purple states, red states are going to link arm in arm to protect Medicare for our seniors and ensure that Republicans don't succeed in putting our senior's healthcare at risk. As we have said many times, there will be issues where we can work with the President-elect and his party, but privatizing Medicare is not -- certainly not -- one of those issues.

"We're going to fight tooth and nail any attempt to privatize, voucherize or any other "ize" you can think of when it comes to Medicare. To Republicans considering going down this path, my advice is simple, turn back."

Although Trump has said he will not cut Medicare, he did campaign on a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, and on that topic, Trump and Price see eye to eye.
Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has sponsored legislation called the Empowering Patients First Act, which calls for individual health insurance pools, expanded health savings accounts, tax credits for the purchase of coverage and lawsuit abuse reforms.

Price also has called the current Medicare system "broken and unsustainable." He advocates a voucher-type system that would provide subsidies for older Americans who choose to purchase private health insurance. He also would raise the Medicare eligibility age from the current 65 to 67.

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