ORLANDO, Fla. — President Donald Trump will be The Villages Thursday for an official White House event focused on health care.
White House sources tell Spectrum News the president will sign an executive order expanding provisions of the Medicare Advantage program.
- President Trump's first trip to The Villages
- Will sign an executive order to expand Medicare Advantage
- Sharon Morse Performing Arts Center Thursday, 1 p.m.
1. Differences in Medicare and Medicare Advantage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates more than 60 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare services. Enrollees are individuals 65 years of age or older, or younger people with qualifying disabilities.
Medicare was established in 1956 and continues as a program run by the federal government.
Medicare Advantage provides coverage through private companies, with government standards in place.
The biggest differences between Medicare and Medicare Advantage are coverages and cost.
While both provide various coverages for doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications, costs, co-pays, and other factors can vary.
2. Growing Cost of Medicare
An analysis by the Keiser Family Foundation shows Medicare amounts to approximately 15 percent of the entire federal budget.
Of the $4.1 trillion budget, Medicare amounted to approximately $605 billion in 2018.
3. More Needed For Medicare
Critics argue that Medicare does not adequately cover the full spectrum of necessary services and prescriptions for those enrolled. Some tell Spectrum News that Medicare has financial requirements that are too strict, making it too easy to earn too much money to qualify, yet still can’t afford services through Medicare.
While the president’s authority is limited by Congress, White House officials tell Spectrum News that President Trump’s executive order is intended to improve healthcare access, reduce costs, and put more health care control into the hands of people.
Critics however say the president’s health care policies have stripped crucial insurance coverage from another 7 million Americans.
President Trump is also facing scrutiny for proposing budget cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare after first promising to leave funding in place.
Trump’s 2020 budget proposal includes $1.5 trillion cut to Medicaid, $25 billion cut to Social Security, and $845 billion cut from Medicare over 10 years.
“During his upcoming visit to The Villages retirement community in Florida, the President intends to make a show of signing an Executive Order to “Protect Medicare from Socialism,” demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the Medicare program, which has deep roots in social police,” said a statement from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
“The President no doubt also hopes to distract attention from his plan to cut Medicare by $846 billion over ten years, a proposal to accelerate the insolvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund – and from his administration’s promotion of private plans with limited doctor networks. Seniors do not need PR events to disguise the President’s true agenda. They need Medicare to be strengthened and expanded – not cut.”
4. Cost of Prescriptions
The cost of prescription drugs is one area where the White House and Congress are finding common ground.
Factors can vary, but traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs offer coverages for prescription medications for little to no cost.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates Americans will spend nearly $360 billion on prescription medications in 2019.
A Congressional Report released in April 2019 showed uninsured Americans pay significantly more than people in other countries for the exact same medications.
That study, for example, found Americans paid an average of 23 times more for insulin than other countries.
President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both said this week that they have found common ground to push legislation that could, in the end, reduce the overall cost of prescription medications for Americans.
Some analysts have said it would be through a mechanism to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug makers, while others have suggested it would put a price cap in place.
Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in 2019 to allow Floridians to import prescription medications from other countries, such as Canada.
Congress passed the “Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act” in 2003 which allows the import of prescription drugs in certain situations.
Florida’s request is now pending with the federal government. If granted, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration would be charged with overseeing the program.
5. Details On Trump’s Visit
This will be the president’s first trip to The Villages, but his second trip to Central Florida this year.
In June, Trump held a rally at Amway Center in downtown Orlando to officially kick off his re-election campaign.
Vice President Mike Pence visited the Villages once before, as a candidate, in 2016.