Politicians can't bring themselves to take away a benefit of any kind, whether it is social security, medicare, medicaid, or free emergency room treatment for the poor.
The country needs shift from seeing some kinds of things as "entitlements" - why should anyone be 'entitled' to subsized health care? We don't have subsidized shoes. Real equality under the law means that rich and poor would be treated alike. And that wouldn't allow the robin hood kind of redistribution that progressives want.
The other big, background idea that is a disaster is that "government should fix problems." The proper purpose of government is just to defend (and retaliate) against threats to initiate force, the initiation of force, fraud and theft. Doing that requires a minimum amount of structure (courts, laws, military, law enforcement) and no more.
At this point, I'll shamelessly plug my tiny book on the Nature of Government. About 80 pages and $2.99 for the digital version. Just search Amazon.com under "steve wolfer"
Until a significant portion of the population grasps these basic principles, our electorate will remain fertile ground for progressives, fascists, populists, and socialists of every stripe.