Is this just another “alternative” fact?
During a rare appearance on a non-Fox News network, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told ABC This Week host George Stephanopoulos that despite significant cuts to the Medicaid program, the Senate health care bill does not actually cut Medicaid funding.
“These are not cuts to Medicaid, George,” Conway insisted. “You keep calling them as cuts. But we don’t see them as cuts. It’s slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Conway on the subject, asking how an estimated $800 billion in “savings” could not be considered cuts.
Following Conway’s appearance, Stephanopoulos asked Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) what she thought of Conway’s assessment of the Senate health care bill.
“I respectfully disagree with her analysis,” Collins said. “Based on what I’ve seen, given the inflation rate that would be applied in the outer years to the Medicaid program, the Senate bill is going to have more impact on the Medicaid program than even the House bill.”
On Monday morning, Conway appeared on Fox & Friends to defend her comments, telling host Ainsley Earhardt that the Senate bill simply provides “flexibility” to states.
“It’s not a lie,” Conway insisted. “Medicaid is intended for the poor, the needy, and the sick. … If you are able-bodied and you would like to go and find employment and employer-sponsored benefits, then you should be able to do that.”
The Senate health care bill, officially titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, repeals the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act within four years and would cap federal funding on the Medicaid program, limiting how much money the federal government would provide states.
“The main event in the Senate bill is the destruction of Medicaid,” Andy Slavitt, the head of Medicaid during the Obama administration, said on Twitter last week, noting that the cuts in the Senate bill are “far, far worse than even the House bill.”
The idea that the bill contains no cuts to Medicaid is something the administration have pushed hard since the bill’s release last week. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price echoed Conway’s comments on CNN Sunday morning, telling State of the Union guest host Dana Bash that cuts to Medicaid “just wouldn’t happen” under the Senate bill.
“We would not pull the rug out from anybody,” Price said, “and we would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and for their family.”
Despite comments being made by the Trump administration, the legislation’s proposed Medicaid cuts are the main reason some moderate Republican senators, many of whom represent states that benefit from Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, are hesitant to support the GOP bill.
“I have made clear that I want to make sure the rug is not pulled out from under Nevada or the more than 200,000 Nevadans who received insurance for the first time under Medicaid expansion,” Nevada Senator Dean Heller said in a statement after the bill was released.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to weigh in on the Senate bill on Monday. The CBO said the House bill, which is structured very similarly to the Senate bill, would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years. They also predicted the cuts would cost 14 million people health care coverage under Medicaid by 2026.
Collins has said she would wait for the CBO score before deciding how she’ll vote on the Senate bill.
President Trump promised multiple times during the presidential campaign he would be the only Republican candidate that would protect Medicaid funding.
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