With the recent election of Donald Trump, along with continued Republican majorities in the House and Senate, our estate planning attorneys predict that we might see some cuts to federal programs that benefit senior citizens in the near future.
According to the Tax Policy Center, President-elect Trump has proposed a $6.2 trillion tax cut—one of the largest in modern US history. The question is: Where will the money come from, and how will it affect seniors?
Over the course of his campaign, Mr. Trump has promised to leave Social Security and Medicare as is. However, our estate planning attorneys believe that programs like Medicaid and other senior services funded through the Older Americans Act could begin to feel the pressure of the cuts.
Regardless, over the last several years funding for most of these programs has remained constant even though the number of people using benefits has grown. As a result, budget cuts may make a significant impact on current or new beneficiaries and will undoubtedly keep elder law attorneys across the country very busy.
As a more specific response to our previous query, President-elect Trump has endorsed a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cap federal spending for Medicaid while calling for cost savings in the Medicare drug program.
Repealing the controversial ACA, referred to commonly as “Obamacare,” is one of Trump’s first top priorities once he arrives in the Oval Office. While most of the current debate on the ACA highlights increasing premiums, the law also includes important changes in the way health care is delivered under Medicare. These changes will be especially important for seniors who are suffering from multiple chronic conditions. If the new administration follows through with repealing the ACA, many of those impactful reforms will also be lost.
Medicaid, which provides long-term support and services to millions of seniors, may also experience some changes. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is among many who support Trump in his plan to limit the federal contribution to Medicaid, which is also funded in part by the states. In turn, Medicaid will have a lower amount of money available to reimburse nursing homes and other providers, inevitably reducing their care capacity.
Finally, capping the government’s share of Medicare and Social Security has been discussed by Ryan and other members of congress for years. Doing so would likely lead to huge jumps in premiums for seniors and/or limit their benefits. Again, President-elect Trump said he would oppose such changes, but many believe he may consider accepting further changes endorsed by Congress.
There is no way to know exactly how much, or when President-elect Trump and Congress may enact any changes to these programs, but considering Trump’s campaign promises, older adults and their families should be prepared to make adjustments.
Since 2002, our estate planning attorneys in Orange County have focused on all aspects of elder law, including long-term care and Medi-Cal planning. If you or a family member is in need of assistance in any of these areas, please contact us today.