Senate and House Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, are calling on the President-elect to veto any legislation that would slash funds for Medicare and Medicaid.
Incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sanders (D-Vt.) are also urging other congressional representatives to help organize nationwide rallies to save the programs.
“Millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump after he promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” a letter sent last week states. “He must be held to his promises.”
Sunday, Jan. 15, will be a “day of action,” according to the letter. “Rallies will be held around the country to vigorously oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it and throw our healthcare system into chaos.”
During his campaign, Trump said he wouldn't touch Medicare. Soon after his surprise victory, Republican leaders signaled they want to see Medicare turn into a “premium-support” system that pays private plans and the traditional fee-for-service program a fixed amount per beneficiary.
The Democrats' letter warns that an upcoming budget resolution aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act also would turn Medicare into a voucher, or premium support, program.
The bill, which would undo the ACA insurance exchanges and roll back Medicaid expansion, is expected to get a House floor vote the week of Jan. 9.
A Medicare premium support system, which is supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan, would provide beneficiaries a fixed dollar amount to purchase a private plan or traditional Medicare coverage. Some worry that approach could ultimately reduce benefits for seniors and raise out-of-pocket costs, but Ryan argues it would help make Medicare sustainable.