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Social Security and Medicare cuts could be coming: What would prompt it?

In a revealing shift, former President Donald Trump hinted on Monday that he’s open to the idea of cutting Social Security and Medicare, marking a stark contrast from his previous position and recent critiques of his Republican rivals. During a recent interview, Trump mentioned the potential for entitlement reform as a method to tackle the national debt, suggesting “a lot you can do” regarding cuts and addressing “the theft and bad management” of these programs.

This statement quickly drew a response from President Joe Biden, who firmly stated, “Not on my watch,” emphasizing his opposition to such cuts. Trump’s campaign, however, clarified that his comments were focused on eliminating waste rather than the benefits themselves. Campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt reassured that Trump aims to “strongly protect Social Security and Medicare” if re-elected, accusing Biden of being the real threat to these entitlement programs.

Throughout his presidency, Trump’s budget proposals hinted at spending reductions for Social Security and Medicare, primarily targeting disability benefits and provider payments. Yet, he has repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to safeguard these programs, attacking opponents like Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis for their support of reforms.

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The ongoing debate occurs as both Social Security and Medicare face financial challenges, with their trust funds projected to deplete within the next decade, according to trustees’ reports. This scenario necessitates difficult discussions on the future sustainability of these critical social safety nets, amidst growing federal health care costs and an aging population.

Trump’s openness to Medicaid cuts also resurfaced, reflecting his administration’s past efforts to impose work requirements and limit federal funding, which faced legal challenges and criticism for reducing coverage among low-income Americans.

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