Republican governor fact-checks Pence’s lie about Medicaid

A misinformation campaign.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
CREDIT: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

During a speech before the National Governors Association on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence blatantly mischaracterized the impact Trumpcare would have on Medicaid.

“Let me be clear: President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society,” Pence said. “And this bill puts this vital American program on a path to long-term sustainability. Under the Senate health care bill, federal Medicaid spending will be $300 to $500 billion dollars higher over the next decade relative to current amounts.”

Note Pence’s careful use of the phrase “relative to current amounts.” What he didn’t tell listeners is that Trumpcare represents a devastating cut to Medicaid funding relative to current law. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently concluded that if Trumpcare becomes law, 15 million Americans will lose Medicaid coverage over the next decade.

That wasn’t the only misleading statement in Pence’s speech on Friday. At one point, Pence claimed that Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid — an expansion Ohio and Pence’s home state of Indiana both took advantage of — produced waiting lists for disabled citizens to obtain coverage.


“I know Governor Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years,” Pence said.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) — one of a few Republican governors opposed to Trumpcare’s huge Medicaid cut — fact-checked that lie, as reported by the Washington Post:

Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling said in an interview that Pence’s suggestion that 60,000 disabled Ohioans remain on waiting lists “is not accurate,” adding that to suggest Medicaid expansion hurt the state’s developmentally disabled “system is false, as it is just the opposite of what actually happened.”

“That waiting list is nothing new, and to attribute it to expansion is absurd,” said Families USA’s senior director of health policy, Eliot Fishman.

The Post further expanded on the reality of the situation in Ohio:

The waiting lists Pence referred to apply to Medicaid’s home and community-based services, and have not been affected by the program’s expansion under the ACA. States have long had waiting lists for these services, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s executive vice president, Diane Rowland, noted that waiting lists in non-expansion states are often longer than in expansion states, which currently receive a 95 percent federal match for their newly covered beneficiaries.

But the Trump administration has no shame about the disinformation campaign officials are waging. In a tweet posted earlier this month, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price used same bogus talking point as Pence.

Administration officials have scrubbed information about Trumpcare’s dire consequences from press releases. They’ve used misleading claims to try and discredit the CBO. They’ve pretended to care about providing relief for uninsured Americans while pushing a bill that would nearly double their ranks.


On Friday, Pence claimed that Trumpcare “ensures that every state in America has the resources you need to take care of your most vulnerable.” The CBO, however, concluded that the bill would have the opposite impact. In its analysis of the Senate version of the bill, the nonpartisan budget office concluded that Trumpcare’s massive cuts to Medicaid coupled with a reduction in federal subsidies and allowing insurance companies to sell plans that cover less would produce a state of affairs where “few low-income people would purchase any plan.”

Despite the administration’s sales pitch, Kasich said in a statement released before Pence’s speech that he still thinks Trumpcare’s cuts to Medicaid “are too deep.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) denounced the White House’s dishonesty, tweeting in response to a clip of Pence’s Medicaid remarks that “there is real evil in the epidemic rate of lying that is going on right now. This is not normal.”