Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Sunday defended cutting nearly a trillion dollars from Medicaid in the GOP-backed health-care plan as being necessary to fix a “fundamentally flawed” system — and give people the coverage they need.
“There are no cuts to the Medicaid program,” Price said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There are increases in spending, but what we’re doing is apportioning it in a way that allows states greater flexibility.”
A Congressional Budget Office analysis of a previous version of the American Health Care Act — a new version of which narrowly passed the House last Thursday — predicted $880 billion would be cut from Medicaid and 14 million fewer people would enroll in the program in the next 10 years.
Price, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, said it’s all part of an effort to make the system more responsive to patients.
“What we’re fashioning is a system that would allow the states to tailor their medical programs to those specific individuals, thereby saving money and also making it so they have a higher level of care,” he said.
Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether slashing Medicaid was just a way to provide a $1 trillion tax cut for the country’s wealthiest, Price said the plan gives states flexibility to fix patient care.
“What we’re trying to do is to improve the Medicaid system — make it more responsive to patients,” he said.