Trump signs executive order on Medicare

In a move toward making the public healthcare program more private, President Trump signed an executive order to strengthen Medicare Advantage.

MA plans are distributed through private healthcare companies contracted with CMS to provide Medicare benefits. MA plans can offer additional benefits, such as those addressing social determinants of health or focused on preventive care. MA plans currently cover about one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries, but most older U.S. adults overwhelmingly receive benefits under traditional Medicare.

In signing the executive order, Trump also took the opportunity to bash Medicare for all plans, arguing such a plan as introduced in the Senate would “destroy our current Medicare program.” According to Trump, such a system would result in delays for care. Trump made the announcement at The Villages, a large retirement community based in Florida, on Oct. 3.

Trump’s executive order pushes MA plans, which he said deliver efficient and value-based care. Trump’s order asks HHS to deliver more plans choices to senior within one year, with the HHS Secretary, currently Alex Azar, proposing a regulation and implementing other actions to enable access to more plans.

Specifically, the order asks HHS to change regulations and guidance to reduce barriers to Medicare Medical Savings Accounts and include a payment model allowing Medicare beneficiaries to share in savings from MA supplemental benefits. Lastly, Trump wants HHS to promote MA plans, by making sure traditional fee-for-service Medicare is not advantaged or promoted over MA.

Trump’s order further asks for other efficiencies within one year to facilitate MA plan growth and cut other regulations.