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Donald Trump's USA Today op-ed, annotated

By PolitiFact Staff October 10, 2018

President Donald Trump penned an op-ed in the USA Today attacking Democrats ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. With the help of experts, we annotated his claims. Trump's remarks are republished below with permission from USA Today.

Throughout the year, we have seen Democrats across the country uniting around a new legislative proposal that would end Medicare as we know it and take away benefits that seniors have paid for their entire lives.

Dishonestly called "Medicare for All," the Democratic proposal would establish a government-run, single-payer health care system that eliminates all private and employer-based health care plans and would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years. 

As a candidate, I promised that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and create new health care insurance options that would lower premiums. I have kept that promise, and we are now seeing health insurance premiums coming down.

I also made a solemn promise to our great seniors to protect Medicare. That is why I am fighting so hard against the Democrats' plan that would eviscerate Medicare. Democrats have already harmed seniors by slashing Medicare by more than $800 billion over 10 years to pay for Obamacare. Likewise, Democrats would gut Medicare with their planned government takeover of American health care.

The Democrats' plan threatens America's seniors

The Democrats' plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised. By eliminating Medicare as a program for seniors, and outlawing the ability of Americans to enroll in private and employer-based plans, the Democratic plan would inevitably lead to the massive rationing of health care. Doctors and hospitals would be put out of business. Seniors would lose access to their favorite doctors. There would be long wait lines for appointments and procedures. Previously covered care would effectively be denied.

In practice, the Democratic Party’s so-called Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None. Under the Democrats' plan, today’s Medicare would be forced to die.

The Democrats' plan also would mean the end of choice for seniors over their own health care decisions. Instead, Democrats would give total power and control over seniors’ health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

The first thing the Democratic plan will do to end choice for seniors is eliminateMedicare Advantage plans for about 20 million seniors as well as eliminate other private health plans that seniors currently use to supplement their Medicare coverage.

Next, the Democrats would eliminate every American’s private and employer-based health plan. It is right there in their proposed legislation: Democrats outlaw private health plans that offer the same benefits as the government plan. 

Americans might think that such an extreme, anti-senior, anti-choice and anti-consumer proposal for government-run health care would find little support among Democrats in Congress.

Unfortunately, they would be wrong: 123 Democrats in the House of Representatives — 64 percent of House Democrats — as well as 15 Democrats in the Senate have already formally co-sponsored this legislation. Democratic nominees for governor in Florida, California and Maryland are all campaigning in support of it, as are many Democratic congressional candidates.

Democrats want open-borders socialism

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy. 

Every single citizen will be harmed by such a radical shift in American culture and life. Virtually everywhere it has been tried, socialism has brought suffering, misery and decay.

Indeed, the Democrats' commitment to government-run health care is all the more menacing to our seniors and our economy when paired with some Democrats' absolute commitment to end enforcement of our immigration laws by abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers.

Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism. This radical agenda would destroy American prosperity. Under its vision, costs will spiral out of control. Taxes will skyrocket. And Democrats will seek to slash budgets for seniors’ Medicare, Social Security and defense.

Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved. I am committed to resolutely defending Medicare and Social Security from the radical socialist plans of the Democrats. For the sake of our country, our prosperity, our seniors and all Americans — this is a fight we must win.

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Our Sources

Donald Trump, "Democrats 'Medicare for All' plan will demolish promises to seniors," Oct. 10, 2018

Kaiser Family Foundation, "‘Medicare-for-All and Public Plan Buy-In Proposals: Overview and Key Issues," Oct. 9, 2018

Kaiser Family Foundation, "2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey," Oct. 3, 2018

Urban Institute, "Social Security and Medicare Lifetime Benefits and Taxes," Sept. 16, 2015

UPI, "Health secretary: ACA 'benchmark' plan premiums to drop 2 percent," Sep. 27, 2018

Larry Levitt, tweet, Sept. 27, 2018

Congressional Budget Office, Budgetary and economic effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act, June 2015

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Health Expenditure Data, Aug. 1, 2018

Peterson Center on Healthcare, Price and intensity identified as the major drivers of rising healthcare spending, Nov. 8, 2017

Urban Institute, "Estimating the Cost of a Single-Payer Plan," Oct. 9, 2018

Political Pasion, "Opinion: Andrew Gillum, born to make history," Sept. 28, 2018

PolitiFact, "Medicare and Social Security: What you paid compared with what you get," Feb. 1, 2013, Donald Trump: Democrats 'Medicare for All' plan will demolish promises to seniors, Oct. 10, 2018, Do Undocumented Immigrants Overuse Government Benefits?, March 28, 2017

PolitiFact, Trump says 'time has come' for law restricting federal assistance to immigrants. It already exists, June 27, 2017

PolitiFact, Clinton: Undocumented workers pay more than Trump in federal income taxes, Oct. 27, 2016

PolitiFact, Clinton says undocumented immigrants pay $12 billion a year into Social Security, Aug. 10, 2016

PolitiFact Florida, Ron DeSantis leaves out context in claim that Andrew Gillum wants to abolish ICE, Sept. 11, 2018

PolitiFact, 'Abolish ICE' movement is growing. Is the agency's disbanding likely?, July 3, 2018

PolitiFact, Immigration in 5 charts: a 2018 midterm report, Oct. 7, 2018

PolitiFact, "Bernie Sanders — socialist or democratic socialist?" Aug. 26, 2015

PolitiFact, "No, Florida's Andrew Gillum does not have a far left socialist platform," Sept. 6, 2018

PolitiFact, "Gov. Rick Scott's Pants on Fire statement that Sen. Bill Nelson is a socialist," Sept. 27, 2018

Email interview with Linda Blumberg, health policy fellow with the Urban Institute, Oct. 10, 2018

Email interview with Christine Eibner, senior economist at the Rand Corp., Oct. 10, 2018

Email interview with Gail Wilensky, head of Medicare and Medicaid under President George H.W. Bush, Oct. 10, 2018

Email interview with John Holahan, fellow in the health policy center at the Urban Institute, Oct. 10, 2018


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Donald Trump's USA Today op-ed, annotated