ER doctor confronts ‘Pastor’ Pence on Medicaid cuts; Pence replies with a trip down memory lane as governor of Indiana

Vice President Mike Pence was confronted by an emergency room doctor and health care advocate about the state of Medicare and Medicaidwhile at a campaign stop in Iowa on Thursday. 

“I’m worried about plans they talked about last week of maybe cutting the Medicare and then the rollout today of cutting Medicaid. I work … with one of the poorest counties in Michigan and my patients depend on expanded Medicaid. So how is that going to affect my patients?” Dr. Rob Davidson, the executive director of the advocacy group Committee to Protect Medicare, asked Pence. 

Pence replied: “I haven’t heard about cuts to Medicare.” “Cutting Medicaid, yeah, the head of (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced the plan to let states file for waivers so they could get block grants. So that would essentially cut the amount of money going to the states. So it would cut federal Medicaid funding. Is that a good idea?” Davidson pressed. 

Dr. Rob Davidson referred to a new “Healthy Adult Opportunity,” which will allow states “to apply for so-called block grants to cover certain low-income adults, particularly those who gained benefits under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision. Federal funding, which is now open-ended, would be capped, with states receiving either a lump sum or a specific amount per enrollee.

The plan is the latest move by the Trump administration to inject conservative ideals into the 55-year-old health program for low-income people, coming two years after it allowed states to require certain beneficiaries to work, an effort that’s largely been halted by the courts.

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