It’s a tribe of some 40 million people who are facing a crisis.
Indeed, according to the Census Bureau, the group of people over the age of 65 is growing faster than the general population.
And they’re about to get a jolt, thanks to the new Trump administration and its Health and Human Services nominee, U.S. Rep. Tom Price.
(Full disclosure: I’m on Medicare, and find it to be the most efficient, well-organized and well-run medical insurance program I’ve ever used, along with a supplement I pay for.)
Here’s how Politico sums up the gathering storm:
“By tapping the tea party Republican as his top health care official, President-elect Donald Trump sends a strong signal he may look beyond repealing and replacing Obamacare to try to scale back Medicare and Medicaid, popular entitlements that cover roughly 130 million people, many of whom are sick, poor and vulnerable. And that’s a turnabout from Trump’s campaign pledge — still on his campaign website -- that he would leave Medicare untouched.”
It’s not as though oldsters are going to storm the capitol all by themselves, with metaphorical pitchforks in hand.
AARP is swearing to enter this battle for them.
Here’s what the AARP web site says:
“We will continue to fight attempts to cut Medicare and beat back any attempts to privatize Social Security for current and future generations. The government made a promise to the American people about these programs, and it needs to be honored.”
Easier said than done, of course.
Trump is a master showman, and is talented at distracting and distorting.
To wit, his trip to Indianapolis this week to proclaim victory in the Carrier plant issue, even though he did it on the backs of Indiana taxpayers, to the tune of $7 million over the next 10 years.
So much for threatening them with 35 percent import fees, huh?
And then heading off to another rally, a format he obviously loves as the adoring masses cheer his every syllable.
Distractions all, as he nominates the likes of Price to a job where he and kindred spirit Paul Ryan can plot to slash and burn the underpinnings of the nation’s safety nets.
Those kinds of distractions have been working for him, but there’s a sense that this is all coming home to the millions of citizens who depend on those programs.
Here’s Paul Krugman, columnist for the New York Times, on today’s Op-ed page, for instance:
“The point is to keep your eye on what’s important. Millions of Americans have just been sucker-punched. They just don’t know it yet.”
Democratic leaders are pitching in now too. Here’s incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, on the Price nomination:
“Between this nomination of an avowed Medicare opponent, and the House Republicans threatening to privatize Medicare, it is clear that Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year.
"Every senior, every American, should hear this loudly and clearly.”