George Stephanopoulos grilled President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday over the Republican healthcare bill just unveiled in the Senate.
In an interview on “This Week,” the ABC anchor pushed Conway to acknowledge that the bill proposes deep cuts to Medicaid, pointing out that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised he wouldn’t cut the healthcare safety net program for low and middle-income Americans.
“Why is the president going back on his promise?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Conway denied that the reductions were cuts, arguing that the administration was willing to consider giving more money to Medicaid than the Senate bill allowed.
“This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility, with Medicaid dollars, because they’re closest to the people in need,” Conway said. “We are trying to get Medicaid back to its original moorings.”
The Senate healthcare bill unveiled last week proposes capping Medicaid spending, limiting the amount of federal government spending on the healthcare program.
Stephanopoulos pushed back on Conway’s claim that the reductions over time were not cuts.
“Kellyanne, hold on a second. There’s no way you could say that a 15-year-old on Medicaid is not going to be affected by the cuts in the future,” Stephanopoulos said. “You said everybody who is on Medicaid now is grandfathered in and is not is not going to face any cuts. And that simply is not functional if you have more than $US800 billion in cuts.”
But Conway doubled down, and mockingly noted that a number of Americans paid a monetary penalty rather than paid for “this great thing called Obamacare.”
“You keep calling them cuts, but we don’t see them as cuts,” she said, reiterating that the administration saw the reduced spending as “slowing the rate of government in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was.”
“And George, they have to look at the whole health care bill — 142 pages in totem here — to have a full conversation,” Conway continued. “When you get rid of these penalties, these taxes, when you open up the market, when you stop the insurers from leaving and just haemorrhaging out of the exchanges — you had 83 leave the markets last year, two dozen more — that will be over 100 by next year.”
Still, other Republicans didn’t buy her assessment.
Asked just minutes later about her opinion on Conway’s statement, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine politely dismissed Conway.
“I respectfully disagree with her analysis,” Collins told Stephanopoulos.
Watch the clip via ABC:
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