— Vice President Pence (@VP) July 14, 2017
There’s not really any other way to put this: Vice President Mike Pence is lying about the health care bill put forward by Senate Republicans. And, he’s apparently quite proud of that lie.
In a video tweeted by the vice president’s official Twitter account, Pence says:
“Let me be clear…the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society. And this bill puts this vital American program on a path to longterm sustainability.”
Except that it doesn’t. In fact, it does the exact opposite.
A headline in the New York Times sums up the issue: “Senate Health Care Bill Includes Deep Cuts To Medicaid“. Of course, the paper of record doesn’t have a stellar history with accuracy and it certainly has no lease on the facts. So, even though commendably succinct and on-point here, let’s not just take their word for it.
According to an independent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the senate GOP bill would reduce federal Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next nine years. That’s a 26 percent decrease in funds allotted over that timespan. If the senate bill were to become law, it would kick nearly 15 million people off of the means-tested health care program by 2026.
Pence’s veracity-lacking video content continues. He goes on to say:
“Under the senate health care bill, federal Medicaid spending will be $300-500 billion higher over the next decade relative to current amounts.”
This is technically true. But it’s extremely misleading. Net Medicaid spending (and health care spending generally) will increase relative to current amounts no matter what. Such spending will increase under the current health care framework, under the senate bill and even under the extremely harsh house bill.
However, the CBO notes that the senate bill would ultimately result in $160 billion less being spent on Medicaid by 2026; $624 billion would be allocated under current law–while only $464 billion would be allocated under the senate proposal.
What Pence is hoping for here is to mesmerize people unfamiliar with the concept of math.
Medicaid supporters, however, understand that such minuscule increases in federal support are actually a relative decrease that won’t keep up with increasing costs over time.
Aside from the easily-debunked claims in the video, the vice president’s crusade on behalf of the GOP’s health care plan has even prompted detractions from those in his own party. Ohio Governor John Kasich basically called out Pence’s tenuous relationship with the truth:
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) July 15, 2017
Arguing in favor of Medicaid expansion, Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling said that Pence’s claim about waiting lists in Ohio was inaccurate. He slammed the vice president further, saying that Pence’s suggestion that Medicaid expansion hurt the state’s program for helping the developmentally disabled “is false, as it is just the opposite of what actually happened.”
[image via screengrab; video courtesy Mike Pence/Twitter]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.