Medicaid cuts won't harm beneficiaries, access to care, Price says

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Changes to Medicaid proposed by Republican lawmakers may cut the program's budget, but won't jeopardize care for beneficiaries, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., said Wednesday.

Speaking during a CNN town hall Price was asked about the Medicaid proposals included in the GOP's healthcare bill. It is estimated $880 billion the changes could cut from the program between now and 2026. That estimate was presented Monday in a Congressional Budget Office report, which Price slammed as “just not believable.”

“You're falling into the same old trap of individuals who are measuring the success of Medicaid by how much money we put into it,” Price said during the town hall. “We ought not be measuring programs by how much money we put into it, we ought to be measuring them by whether or not they work.”

Price argued that Medicaid “is having extreme difficulty providing the care that's needed for all of the individuals on it,” and could be improved by giving more flexibility to the states instead of federal health officials.

"We believe strongly, strongly, that the plan we put together is so much better than the one that's there now," Price said.

The GOP's healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act, was approved by the House Budget Committee on Thursday in a 19-17 vote. It will now move to the House Rules Committee for consideration.