Five Ways the Trump Administration Has Failed the Elderly in Rural America

1) Trump’s neglect of COVID-19 has impacted seniors most heavily. Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has disregarded science, rejected common-sense restrictions that would stop the spread, and has made hundreds of false claims. Seniors are disproportionately affected by this virus, as over 40% of COVID-19 deaths have been linked to nursing homes. During the month of May, a fifth of the nation’s nursing homes reported PPE shortages, and Trump’s inadequate response has failed seniors across the country. (Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck, The New York Times, 08/26/20)

2) Trump wants to cut food stamps, putting rural seniors at risk. The Trump administration is pushing for food stamp cuts that could cause 5.3 million households to lose access to the program or see reduced benefits. Rural households have the highest SNAP participation rate, and out of the 100 counties with the highest proportion of citizens on food stamps, 85 are rural counties. In addition, 11% of rural senior homes participate in the program, meaning a food stamp cut would directly disadvantage food accessibility for rural seniors. (Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 05/15/2020)

3) Trump threatens Social Security — a lifeline for many rural seniors. The payroll tax that Trump is proposing to cut currently funds the Social Security program, which many rural Americans are reliant upon. 58% of retirees rely upon Social Security for a “major source” of income and Trump’s actions could devastate the amount of money seniors are bringing in. (Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Business Insider, 08/08/2020)

4) Attacks on the USPS heavily impact seniors and rural communities. The U.S. Postal Service delivered 1.2 billion prescriptions in 2019 and steadily delivers 80% of Department of Veterans Affairs prescriptions. Trump’s intention to block USPS funding has put many rural seniors in danger, as the USPS is often the only option for medication delivery. (Richard Cowan, Newsweek, 08/25/2020)

5) Seniors will bear the burden for Trump’s privatization of Medicare. President Trump’s budget for 2021 proposes $500 billion in reductions for Medicare spending over the next ten years. As a result of these cuts and with rural hospitals closing rapidly, rural seniors will have minimal access to health care services. (Emile Gee et al., Center for American Progress, 10/11/19