WASHINGTON — Final preparations are underway for President Trump’s event Thursday in Central Florida, where he is expected to sign an executive order related to Medicare.
- President Trump to visit the Villages Thursday
- Expected to sign executive order to further privatize Medicare
- Legal capacity to expand program without congressional approval unclear
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“Florida is a great place to unveil a new emphasis on Medicare,” said Joe Grogan, Director of the Domestic Policy Council in an interview with Spectrum News.
In one of the Sunshine State’s most concentrated Republican strongholds, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order calling for further privatization of Medicare by expanding plans through Medicare Advantage, a popular alternative that covers one-third of seniors.
“We will be looking for more options for seniors to choose Medicare Advantage and tailor different Medicare Advantage programs for them,” Grogan explained.
It’s a vision President Trump has been pushing since March 2017.
"We are going to be working to unleash the power of the private marketplace — to let insurers come in and compete for your business,” the President said during a meeting with lawmakers and administration officials that was captured by network cameras.
While this visit to the Villages has been billed as an official presidential event, Trump is expected to draw a distinction between his approach to healthcare and that of the single-payer system embraced by the Democrats looking to oust him next year.
Democratic senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are pushing “Medicare for All,” a plan that would provide government coverage to everyone based on the existing Medicare Program for Americans 65 and older — that would effectively eliminate private insurance.
It’s a divisive issue within the Democratic Party that the administration is looking to highlight.
"We believe when seniors have more options, they make the best decisions for their own healthcare, as opposed to a one size, government-run system, which is really the Democrats’ vision for where we should be headed,” Grogan said.
It's unclear if the White House has the legal capacity to expand the program without approval from Congress. However, Grogan believes the Trump Administration has the power to act alone, if needed.
“We have plenty of administrative tools in our tool box to give seniors more options,” Grogan said.
Even with an impeachment inquiry on the horizon, the administration believes ultimately it will be able to strike a deal with lawmakers on another major priority — lowering drug prices. Grogan said the White House had a successful meeting with staff from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)’s offices on Tuesday.
“When the fever breaks and this whole impeachment stuff is behind us, they are going to need to focus on finding real solutions, and I think we think we will be in a great position,” Grogan explained.