Think Trump is going to protect Medicare? You've been had!
If you thought Donald Trump was going to protect Medicare, well, you've been had.
Everything Trump has done since the election suggests that he's ready to either sit back and let Republicans privatize the program or lead the charge himself.
First, he said absolutely nothing when Paul Ryan started talking about how Republicans would try to combine their Obamacare repeal efforts with a Medicare "overhaul".
Then, just a few days later, he named Georgia Congressman Tom Price, one of Washington's most vocal supporters for turning Medicare over to the giant for-profit health insurance companies, as the next Secretary of Health of Health Human Services, which oversees Medicare.
And now, a little more than a month after the election, Trump himself has all-but admitted that he himself is ready to privatize Medicare.
The healthcare section of his transition team's website now says that one of the next administration's top priorities will be to "Modernize Medicare, so that it will be ready for the challenges with the coming retirement of the Baby Boom generation - and beyond."
That is literally straight out of Paul Ryan's recurring plan to throw grandma off the cliff.
"Modernization," like "overhaul," and "streamline," is one of the weasel words Republicans like Ryan use to trick people into thinking they don't want to do what they actually want to do -- which is voucherize and privatize Medicare.
Republicans like Ryan (and now Trump) have to use these code words because they know that privatizing Medicare is incredibly unpopular.
In fact, according to a new Morning Consult Poll, a full 55 percent of Americans oppose any changes to Medicare and think it should "continue as it is today".
And why, exactly, do so many Americans oppose Medicare privatization?
Easy: they know that "privatization" really just means "profitization".
They know that it means turning the most successful healthcare program in American history from a public utility to a profit center for billionaires like United Healthcare CEO Stephen J. Hemsley, whose 2014 total compensation was $66 million, including $45 million in stock options.
They know that privatization goes against the entire point of having a program like Medicare in the first place.
As Ian Millhiser pointed out in ThinkProgress, "Speaker Paul Ryan's plan to voucherize Medicare would drive up out-of-pocket costs for seniors by about 40 percent."
If Trump actually goes forward with this push to privatize Medicare, he's going to be in for a rude awakening.