Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515
Secretary Price Continues to Peddle Falsehoods about Medicaid, Trumpcare, and the President's Budget
HHS Secretary Tom Price Repeated False Claims Before the Senate Finance Committee
Washington, D.C. – Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price yesterday testified before the Senate Finance Committee to defend the drastic cuts in the President’s Budget and harmful changes in the American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare, repeatedly attempting to mislead members of the committee and at times outright lying about the effects of these policies:
False Claim #1: “The president’s budget provides for an increase.”
Compared to current law, the President’s Budget and Trumpcare contain dramatic cuts to Medicaid. They do this by placing a cap on care that would force states to choose between kids, seniors in nursing homes, and people with disabilities who want to live in their communities.
Their plans tell states that they’ll receive less funding than they’ve been promised, good luck making up the difference. That difference amounts to cuts of $834 billion in Trumpcare, and $610 billion in the President’s Budget. Secretary Price continued to obscure and mislead about how the two numbers are related, so Americans are left to assume that the President’s Budget guts Medicaid on top of Trumpcare, leading to over a trillion dollars in cuts to basic health needs. [CNN, 5/24/17]
False Claim #2: “We won’t be adding 24 million uninsured.”
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office plainly puts this lie to rest. In the first year of Trumpcare alone, 2018, 14 million fewer Americans will have health care coverage. It only gets worse from there, increasing to 19 million in 2020 and reaching 23 million people in 2026. [CBO, 5/24/17]
False Claim #3: When asked whether he still believed nobody would be worse off under Trumpcare, he said, “I stand by that statement.”
The facts are clear: many Americans, particular lower-income, older people, and those in rural areas, would be charged more than 800% higher premiums – in some cases, more than half of their income. [KFF, 4/27/17]
Americans with pre-existing conditions would once again be forced to pay higher premiums for their care, and insurance companies would be allowed to restrict critical benefits like prescription drug coverage, maternity care, or hospitalizations.
Under Trumpcare, millions will receive worse care at a higher cost, if they can receive any care at all.
False Claim #4: “Nobody is interested in sabotaging the system.”
On the contrary, nearly every Trump administration official, from the president down, goes out of their way to explain why they believe the individual insurance markets are doomed to fail. [WaPo, 6/7/17]
The president himself used Anthem pulling out of the market in Ohio as an applause line, and continues to declare “Obamacare is dead.” [Fortune, 6/7/17]
To help their predictions come true, the Trump administration has played games with key payments to make health care more affordable to low-income Americans that health plans have cited as a key to staying in the markets. Today Secretary Price continued that trend by dodging every question on the issue, even when a leading House Republican said the CSR payments should be made. [Morning Consult, 6/8/17]
Threatening Women’s Health
Beyond Secretary Price’s numerous false claims about Republicans’ health care agenda, he refused to say whether employers should cover their female employees’ birth control, instead repeating, “I think that for women that desire birth control that it ought to be available” and confirmed that the administration has proposed a regulation to take this protection away.
That opens the door to discriminating against women once again by eliminating birth control as an essential health benefit employers are required to cover – taking away choices and access from women who don’t need to be told how to take care of their bodies.
Unraveling Basic Living Assistance for Working Families
Price’s remarks focused on the “success” of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. To illustrate that so-called “success,” he cited declining numbers of families receiving assistance through TANF and credited the program for reducing poverty. The reality is that instead of helping families most in need, TANF has instead contributed to a steep increase in extreme poverty.
In Price’s home state of Georgia, between 1996 – when TANF was created -- and 2015, the number of poor families receiving support through TANF dropped from 82 per 100 to just 5 families per 100 while the population of poor families in Georgia rose by more than 50 percent. The fact that this is what Price calls a “success” should send a clear message that his vision for American health care is denying people their health care coverage as Americans’ needs rise. [1/18/17]
A Record of Falsehoods
Price attempted to deflect, mislead, and mischaracterize aspects of both the Trumpcare and the Trump budget during the hearing, denying the incredibly harmful impacts each would have on millions of Americans. Despite his claims about Medicaid cuts and affordable insurance under the Republican plan, the facts speak for themselves: under the Trump administration’s agenda, millions of Americans will experience higher costs, loss of coverage, and a lack of access to affordable care options.
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