Spicer Insists Senate O’Care Bill Won’t Affect Medicaid Recipients

White House press secretary Sean Spicer waits for the start of a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017," in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday insisted that Senate’s freshly unveiled Obamacare repeal bill would not affect anyone currently enrolled in Medicaid and said that President Donald Trump was “very supportive” of the legislation.

“I think that the President’s very supportive of the Senate bill,” Spicer said at a press briefing Friday. “There’s a lot of ideas in there. He’s talked about having heart and he likes a lot of the reforms that have been in there. He’s committed to making sure that no one who currently is in the Medicaid program is affected in any way, which is reflected in the Senate bill and he’s pleased with that. So I think he’s very pleased with that bill.”

Trump pledged frequently on the 2016 campaign trail that he would not make cuts to Medicaid. Senate Republicans’ bill would make dramatic cuts to Medicaid, however, deeper than those in the House Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill. It would roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and limit the federal government’s Medicaid payments to the states to per capita reimbursements, the rates of which would then be gradually lowered through 2025.

Asked later in the briefing if Trump was “comfortable with the changes to the Medicaid program in the Senate bill,” Spicer doubled down.

“I think right now he’s very supportive of the current bill,” Spicer responded. He later reiterated Trump’s support for the Senate bill multiple times.

On Thursday, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had referenced Trump’s comments that the Senate bill was a “negotiation” and said that “I don’t believe that the President has specifically weighed in that it’s right to cut Medicaid.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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