Ahead of Testimony, Cantwell and Colleagues Call out HHS Sec. Price for Misleading Public on Healthcare

Senators: Price statements on Medicaid are patently false

Price to testify at Finance Committee hearing tomorrow at 9:45am 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) sent a letter, along with 15 of her Senate colleagues, defending the Medicaid program and criticizing the steady stream of false statements from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the draconian Medicaid cuts contained in the House Republican health care bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

“Your efforts to obfuscate the facts and mislead the public through false statements are a disservice to the American people and offensive to working class families, children, people with disabilities, and seniors in nursing homes for whom Medicaid is a lifeline,” wrote the senators. “We call on you to end your dishonest statements regarding Medicaid and affordable health insurance coverage.”

Secretary Price has made demonstrably false claims and continues to espouse them after they have been disproven, a violation of the public’s trust and confidence.

Price statement: Cutting $880 billion from Medicaid will “absolutely not” result in millions of Americans being cut off from the program.

Reality: According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, 14 million people would lose Medicaid enrollment as a result of the cuts in AHCA. 

Price statement: There are no cuts to Medicaid under the Trump Administration’s budget request.

Reality: According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, President Trump’s budget request would blow past the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts to slash as much as $1.3 trillion from the program over the next decade. 

Price statement: The Administration is trying to ensure that every person has health coverage.

Reality: The CBO reports shows that 23 million people would lose coverage under the AHCA, a plan fully supported by the White House.

Price statement: Nobody will be worse off financially under the AHCA.

Reality: The CBO report also shows that premiums will rise for many Americans, and older, low-income Americans will face extremely high premiums. A low-income 64-year-old, for instance, would pay almost $12,000 more in premiums annually than they do under current law.

Tomorrow at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Cantwell will press Secretary Price to rationalize the Administration’s attempts to defund Medicaid despite President Trump’s repeated promises on the campaign trail to leave the program alone. She will also ask Price to explain his false statements.

A new report released earlier today from the Rural Health Policy Project – a collaboration between Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina -- shows the critical role of Medicaid in covering children in rural areas. Nationally, the Medicaid program covered 45 percent of kids in small towns and rural areas in 2015 versus 38 percent of kids in urban areas.

In Washington state, 53 percent of children in rural areas were covered by Medicaid in 2015 versus 39 percent of children in urban areas. The report also highlights the importance of Medicaid expansion in reducing the rate of uninsured children in small towns and rural areas. 4 percent fewer children in rural areas in Washington state went without healthcare between 2008-2009 and 2014-2015.

“Medicaid is a lifeline for children in rural Washington communities,” remarked Senator Cantwell. “This new, nonpartisan report provides yet another piece of irrefutable evidence that Trumpcare is a War on Medicaid that will hurt our kids, our state, and our economy.”

The hearing will take place at 9:45am ET. A live stream can be found here.

Also signing the letter were Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Patty Murray (D-WA).

A copy of the letter can be found here.