GOP could go after Social Security, Medicare changes in new year

DENVER -- When the tax bill takes effect, it will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt. It could come in the form of so-called “entitlement” reform, affecting things like Medicare and Social Security, but there are already big changes happening to the latter, according to U.S. News.

First, beneficiaries will get bigger payments: 2-percent bigger, to be exact. So the average monthly payment will rise by $27 to $1,404. Second, there will be a higher tax cap, meaning workers pay around 6 percent of their earnings in taxes until their income exceeds $128,700 in 2018. And here's the big one, an older full retirement age: 67 instead of 66.

Conservatives want to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs. This month, House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to iHeartRadio.

“So we're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle debt and the deficit. You have two things you have to do, reform entitlement programs, grow the economy,” Ryan said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders responded this way:

“Please, America, understand what he means by ‘entitlement reform.’ Those are cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Remember, during the campaign. candidate Donald Trump said, ‘Oh, if I'm elected president, there will be no cuts to social security, Medicare and Medicaid.’ That is exactly what Ryan has in mind and I challenge the president maybe for once in his life, keep the promises that you made."

Republicans haven't released specific plans, but Ryan has previously said he wants to reduce fraud in disability, reform Medicare payments and transition more people from welfare to working.

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