President signs Medicare order during appearance in The Villages

President Donald Trump was in The Villages Thursday to discuss health care and sign an executive order for Medicare.

Although his focus was on health care, the impeachment probe into the president for soliciting foreign interference in the election was on the minds of many.

Before coming to Florida, the president made some striking remarks, saying publicly he thinks China should investigate the Bidens, adding if he were the president of Ukraine, he would investigate the Bidens.

That fueled the growing firestorm in Washington that may overshadow his executive order on Medicare, which could have a big impact on the election and seniors across the nation.

Despite the impeachment probe gaining support in polls across the nation, the president felt support in the heart of Trump country, in Central Florida. The sprawling and very conservative retirement community is all-in for the president.

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Trump won 68% of the vote from The Villages and surrounding communities in Sumter County in 2016. That gave Trump just the margin he needed to win Florida, narrowly.

With a third of Florida’s population being age 55 or older, and 4.5 million enrolled in Medicare, Central Florida was the perfect location to announce the order, titled ‘Protecting Medicare from Socialism Destruction.’

The title may cause confusion because, according to FOX 13 Political Editor Craig Patrick, Medicare is a socialist concept in itself. It’s government owned and operated health care for seniors.

By signing this order, the president is trying to contrast his vision with some of his democratic rivals, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who want to extend the government-run Medicare coverage to everyone. Other potential Democratic candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden want to give younger Americans the ability to buy into something much like it. 

Instead of expanding government coverage, Trump wants to give seniors more access to private, for-profit insurance plans, also known as Medicare Advantage Health Plans.

Instead of traditional Medicare, seniors who choose Medicare Advantage would switch to HMOs or PPOs.

The upside would be extra benefits and less paperwork. The downside could be additional rules and requirements to stay within networks, some limits on care, and potentially higher costs for hospital and home health services.

There were several new developments, meanwhile, in the impeachment inquiry, while President Trump spent the afternoon in Central Florida.

Three house committees questioned the former U.S. Envoy to Ukraine behind closed doors Thursday. The intelligence community’s legal team assured Congress it would protect the whistleblower’s identity.