Despite opposition, Republicans are moving forward with their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that could dramatically cut Medicaid funding. On Wednesday, a cancer survivor who says he's alive because of Medicaid confronted health secretary Tom Price over the GOP decision to cut the program.
During a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, Pennsylvania resident Brian Kline asked Price why he was opposed to Medicaid expansion.
"Medicaid expansion saved my life, and saved me from medical bankruptcy," he said. "Now, I earn $11.66 an hour at my retail job, and I obviously cannot afford to pay for my cancer care out of pocket."
"My life really depends on having access to my doctors and medical care," he continued. "Getting a cancer diagnosis is bad enough, but Medicaid expansion gives me the economic security in knowing that funding will always be there for my cancer care."
"So my question for you, Secretary Price, is pretty straightforward: Why do you want to take away my Medicaid expansion?"
Price replied by telling Kline that the Medicaid program has "real issues," and that Kline's issues "aren't necessarily true for everybody."
"What we want to do is, one, reform the Medicaid system," Price said.
Kline, however, wasn't satisfied with that answer.
“Unfortunately, no, I don’t believe he did answer my question," he told Talking Points Memo. "According to my knowledge, the American Health Care Act under the Republican leadership bill is going sunset Medicaid I believe in 2020. Now of course you have the conservative republicans who want to sunset it even sooner, so this is not going to help me.”
Despite what Price said, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the replacement bill would leave about 24 million people uninsured, with 14 million fewer people being covered under Medicaid.