Kellyanne Conway Defends Medicaid Cuts Despite Millions Potentially Losing Coverage

Conway Believes Employer Benefits Could Fill the Gap, but Data Proves Otherwise

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said that able-bodied Americans should be able to find jobs that provide employer-based healthcare should Medicaid be cut, despite many lower-income and part-time workers receiving little to no benefits at all.

Conway appeared on the ABC program, This Week, where she claimed that the proposed Medicaid “slowdown” (which many are treating as a cut) wouldn’t strip working-age and able Americans of Medicaid.

“Obamacare took Medicaid, which was designed to help the poor, the needy, the sick, disabled, also children and pregnant women, it took it and went way above the poverty line to many able-bodied Americans who … should at least see if there are other options for them,” she said.

“If they are able-bodied and they want to work, then they’ll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do.”

The issue is that the data does not bear out her claims. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 79% of able-bodied people on Medicaid are in families where someone works, and 59% have jobs themselves.

But under the American Health Care Act (recently renamed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017) the federal government would cease to help fund the Medicaid expansion that is currently active in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

The Congressional Budget Office scored the bill as it passed through the House and found that 14 million fewer Americans would be covered under Medicaid by 2026. However, that was a version that was projected to have softer cuts versus the new bill revisions done by the Senate.

Those most affected would be employees in low-paying, temporary, or part-time jobs that don’t offer coverage. In 2014, 30% of working adults with incomes at or below the poverty line were covered by employee benefits.

The cuts would come as the debate surrounding the current healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, rages on. With many eligible for coverage under the ACA but not under the Senate revisions and the initial bill the House passed, fiery protests and debates have spread across the country, with the stakes in some cases being life or death for those who would lose coverage should the new healthcare bill be approved by the Senate.

The Republicans hold a Senate majority, however, so there is little that opposition Democrats can do to stop the bill unless at least three Republican Senators cross the aisle and vote against their party.

Sources

Kellyanne Conway Defends Medicaid Cuts, Says Adults Can Always Find Jobs,” HuffPost, June 25, 2017.

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