White House counsel Kellyanne Conway has asserted that Americans who would lose health care coverage under Senate Republicans' health care bill should consider landing a job that includes a health benefits package. Conway made the suggestion while defending the GOP health care bill's cuts to Medicaid.
On June 25, Conway defended the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The Senate Republicans' legislation is designed to repeal and replace the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. Critics have contended that the replacement plan is unacceptable because it would end the Medicaid expansion under the ACA and cap how much the federal government could provide states in Medicaid funding.
"These are not cuts to Medicaid... It's slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was," Conway told ABC News. "Obamacare expanded the pool of Medicaid recipients beyond its original intentions."
Conway added that Medicaid "was designed to help the poor, the needy, the sick, disabled, also children and pregnant women, it took it went way above the poverty line to many able-bodied Americans."
The White House counsel asserted that many able-bodied Americans did not need Medicaid because they could find employers who offer health care benefits, arguing that Americans who lose Medicaid benefits "should probably find other -- at least see if there are other options for them."
Conway concluded that if Americans who lose Medicaid "are able-bodied and they want to work, than they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do."
Analysis conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the majority of Medicaid recipients are working families, CNBC reports.
"Among Medicaid adults (including parents and childless adults -- the group targeted by the Medicaid expansion) nearly 8 in 10 live in working families, and a majority are working themselves," the Kaiser foundation report said.
The analysis found that 59 percent of Medicaid recipients worked part or full times jobs that did not offer health benefits. The report also found that only 63 percent of Americans who worked for companies that offered health benefits received health coverage from their employers.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also challenged Conway's assertion that the Better Care Reconciliation Act would not result in Medicaid cuts.
"Well, I respectfully disagree with her analysis... based on what I've seen, given the inflation rate that would be applied in the outer years to the Medicaid program, the Senate bill is going to have more impact on Medicaid program than even the House bill."
On June 26, the Congressional Budget Office released a score for the Senate Republicans' bill, estimating that it would result in 22 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026 than if the ACA were kept in place, Vox reports.