Email #158: “no cuts to the Medicaid program”?

Why did you vote for a bill that breaks President Trump’s promise not to cut Medicaid? Donald Trump said at the start of his campaign:

“I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

He later tweeted:

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

But if the Senate passes the House’s American Health Care Act, there will be major cuts to Medicaid as the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion is repealed in the 31 states that adopted it. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the AHCA would cut $880 billion from Medicaid. Ohio Governor Kasich said of the 14 million people who will lose their Medicaid:

“They are going to be living in the emergency rooms again, potentially driving up health care costs.”

Republican senators Portman, Capito, Gardner, and Murkowski have all come out against the cuts too, and yet, Secretary Price, one of the originators of the bill, said last weekend:

“There are no cuts to the Medicaid program.”

This claim is verifiably and overwhelmingly false. Price added:

“What we’re trying to do is to improve the Medicaid system, make it more responsive to patients so that there are more resources to be able to be utilized for the disabled and the aged. That makes a whole lot of sense.”

In what possible sense does cutting $880 mean “more resources”?

You, however, argued for supporting the AHCA specifically because it did cut the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. You said:

“We can’t afford this when we have $20 trillion in national debt.”

You stated that in January, the same month as the President was renewing his promise:

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Although you didn’t know you were being recorded, I presume that what you say behind closed doors to your fellow GOP Representatives still applies when you communicate with your constituents back home. So could you please acknowledge that the AHCA does cut Medicaid? And could you please explain why this is something anyone should support?

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Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an assistant professor of English at Washington and Lee University where he teaches creative writing, contemporary fiction, and comics. He has published two novels, Pretend I'm Not Here (HarperCollins 2002) and School For Tricksters (Southern Methodist University 2011), and two nonfictions, On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa University 2015) and Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2017).

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