GOP Senators School CBS, NBC Moderators on Fake Cuts to Medicaid

The Sunday morning shows of the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) were filled with discussion of the health care bill recently released by Senate Republicans on Thursday. That discussion was loaded with fake news about the bill drastically slashing Medicaid, which was being pushed by the program moderators. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actually yelled at Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway because she refuted it. Meanwhile, on the other networks, GOP Senators were embarrassing their hosts by educating them on what the bill actually did to Medicaid. One Senator didn’t even support the bill.

CBS host John Dickerson had Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey on Face the Nation to discuss his support for the proposed legislation. “We just heard Senator Manchin on the Democratic side, but on the Republican side, there are two criticisms: That too much ObamaCare is left in place and then criticisms from say, Senator Heller, which is that these Medicaid cuts are too big,” he prefaced his question to the Senator. “How do those get solved?”

“Yeah. Listen, it's going to be a challenge, but I have to strongly disagree with the characterization that we're somehow ending the Medicaid expansion,” Pat Toomey said, immediately shooting down Dickerson’s assertion. He then proceeded to lecture Dickerson on what the bill would do for poor people:

In fact, quite the contrary. The Senate bill will codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion, and will, in fact, have the federal government pay the lion's share of the cost. Remember, ObamaCare created a new category of eligibility. Working age, able-bodied adults with no dependents for the first time became eligible for Medicaid if their income is below 138 percent of the poverty level.

“We're continuing that eligibility. No one loses coverage,” Toomey added as he then explained where the funding was coming from. The Senator from Pennsylvania appeared to have left Dickerson speechless. The CBS moderator didn’t address Toomey’s correction, instead, he called on his other guest, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy to give his perspective as a former doctor in a poor area.

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson chastised moderator Chuck Todd for pushing the “inflamed rhetoric” of false cuts to Medicaid:

You know, here’s some other inflamed rhetoric. You said it yourself: “slashing Medicaid.” Now that's Washington's speak. My definition of a cut is spending being reduced year over year. We don't have the final figures. But any projections that I've been working with regardless of the bill, I don't see anything other than a reduction in the growth of spending.

Johnson explained to Todd that he didn’t support the bill or the process in which it was crafted because it didn’t fix ObamaCare the way it needed to be. So Senator’s words carried extra weight when he requested that the media “be honest about what we're talking about here.” He seemed to implore Todd to think of the future generations in order to get government spending under control. “We are mortgaging our children's future. A compassionate society doesn’t impoverish future generation for benefits in the here and now,” he said.

Senator Johnson’s call for honesty by the media was of vital importance to elevating the political discourse surrounding the Senate’s bill. It was an example of how one can disagree with a piece of policy on stable terms without having to concoct fake news about what it does. The liberal media need to learn a lesson from this GOP Senator.

Transcripts below;

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CBS
Face the Nation
June 25, 2017
10:52:41 AM Eastern

JOHN DICKERSON: There seem to be two criticisms of the bill. We just heard Senator Manchin on the Democratic side, but on the Republican side, there are two criticisms that too much ObamaCare is left in place and then criticisms from say, Senator Heller, which is that these Medicaid cuts are too big. How do those get solved?

PAT TOOMEY: Yeah. Listen, it's going to be a challenge, but I have to strongly disagree with the characterization that we're somehow ending the Medicaid expansion. In fact, quite the contrary. The Senate bill will codify and make permanent the Medicaid expansion, and will, in fact, have the federal government pay the lion's share of the cost. Remember, ObamaCare created a new category of eligibility. Working age, able-bodied adults with no dependents for the first time became eligible for Medicaid if their income is below 138 percent of the poverty level.

We're continuing that eligibility. No one loses coverage. What we are going to do, gradually over seven years is transition from the 90 percent federal share that ObamaCare created and transition that to where the federal government is still paying a majority, but the states are kicking in their fair share; an amount equivalent to what they pay for all the other categories of eligibility.

As far as some of my conservative friends who are concerned the bill doesn't go far enough, I'm sympathetic about the kinds of reforms they would like the make the lower premiums through more market forces and greater freedom on the part of consumers. But I see this bill as a first step, a first important step in the direction of repealing those portions of ObamaCare that we can, stabilizing the individual market, which is collapsing, and making important reforms to Medicaid. It's not the last step.

(…)

...

NBC
Meet the Press
June 25, 2017
10:40:02 AM Eastern

(…)

CHUCK TODD: The point is: During the campaign you used that fun little buzzword [repeal and replace] and your constituents are hearing that buzzword look at buzzword, and they’re looking at this now and saying: “You've been promising repeal and replace on the campaign trail for seven years as party.” Now you’re being realistic, I think, in the January statement when there isn’t an election coming. But isn't this part of the problem in that you use one set of rhetoric during an election year and then when you need a pragmatic process, the constituents don't buy it?

RON JOHNSON: Well the problem, Chuck, is on shows like this you get a couple of minutes and you have to condense what you want to do. No, I would repeal all of ObamaCare and I would replace it with something that actually worked. Focus on repair, that’s those skyrocketing premiums those are the collapsing markets, that’s addressing the forgotten men and women.

You know, here’s some other inflamed rhetoric. You said it yourself: “slashing Medicaid.” Now that's Washington's speak. My definition of a cut is spending being reduced year over year. We don't have the final figures. But any projections that I've been working with regardless of the bill, I don't see anything other than a reduction in the growth of spending. So let's be honest about what we're talking about here. We are $20 trillion in debt, over the next 30 years according to the CBO, another $129 trillion of accumulated deficit. We are mortgaging our children's future. A compassionate society doesn’t impoverish future generation for benefits in the here and now.

(…)

NB Daily Health Care Medical Insurance Conspiracy Theories CBS Face the Nation NBC Meet the Press Fake News Video John Dickerson Chuck Todd Pat Toomey Ron Johnson

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