Speed Reads

semantics

Republicans are trying to change the narrative on their health-care proposal's Medicaid cuts

Republicans are trying to cast their health-care proposal in a positive light, saying that cuts to Medicaid actually do the opposite, slowing the program's growth in order to preserve it, and everyone from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to President Trump himself is getting involved.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the GOP Senate bill would reduce Medicaid spending by $772 billion over 10 years, and by 2026, enrollment would drop by 16 percent among people under the age of 65. Over the weekend, Conway said Republicans "don't see" these as cuts, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said the bill would "codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion" put in place by the Affordable Care Act. On Wednesday, former House Speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich said on Fox & Friends that "after all the news media talking about cutting Medicaid in the House Republican bill, I did some research. It actually goes up 20 percent over the next 10 years."

That's a touch misleading, PolitiFact says. The CBO report found that the House bill that passed in May would cut Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years. His office didn't respond to PolitiFact's calls, but they concluded it is likely Gingrich was referring to the rate at which Medicaid will grow over the next decade, which will happen if the law passes or not. Medicaid spending will increase because health-care costs are going up, and the CBO report found that under the House bill it limits the increase to 20 percent; if nothing changes, it will require a 60 percent increase.

One of Trump's major campaign promises was that "there will be no cuts" to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, which is likely why he tweeted this graph Wednesday evening:

None of these talking points are swaying David Kamin, a law professor at New York University and former economic adviser to President Barack Obama, who told The New York Times: "The question of whether it's an increase or a cut is really about how people experience health care and whether people will be covered. From my perspective, it would best be described as a cut."