Trump signs executive order 'protecting' Medicare

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Oct. 3 aimed at improving private Medicare plans for seniors, according to CNBC

Speaking at a rally at a retirement community in Florida, the president offered few details on the executive order, but ensured the crowd that as long as he remains in office, "no one will lay a hand on your Medicare benefits."

While few details were discussed in the speech, senior administration officials announced earlier in the day that President Trump would issue the order, titled "Protecting Medicare from Socialist Destruction."

The executive order focuses on Medicare Advantage plans, private plans that provide benefits to seniors in place of the government. There are currently 22 million beneficiaries enrolled in the program.

On a call with reporters, White House senior officials said the executive order directs CMS to propose ways to bolster Medicare Advantage plans, including offering more choices in the program. The order will promote more affordable plan options, increase the use of telehealth and bring payments in Medicare fee-for-service programs in line with payments for Medicare Advantage, according to the report. 

President Trump's executive order aims to draw a sharp distinction from many of the plans supported by Democrats, including "Medicare for All."

During the speech in Florida, President Trump called Medicare for All a government takeover that would "obliterate" coverage for seniors, according to CNBC. 

"They want to raid Medicare to fund a thing like socialism," he said. "Today we're creating a healthcare system that protects vulnerable patients."

"Congressional Democrats’ Medicare for All plan would effectively end Medicare and take away the Medicare Advantage plans enjoyed by millions of seniors. Their plan would force 24 million seniors to lose their Medicare Advantage coverage," the Trump administration said in a news release moments before the order was announced. 

CMS Administrator Seema Verma applauded President Trump for his "historic action to deliver on his enduring commitment and promise to strengthen and protect this sacred program for America’s seniors who have paid into the program their entire lives."

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