Elizabeth Warren Grills Trump’s Health Nominee on His Efforts to Slash Medicare and Medicaid

Trump promised to preserve the programs. Now Tom Price won’t give a straight answer.


Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services won’t say whether he agrees with the president-elect’s campaign pledge to not cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) faced pointed questioning from Elizabeth Warren during a Senate hearing Wednesday morning, as the Massachusetts senator tried to get a simple “yes” or “no” answer on whether the Trump administration still intended to uphold that promise.

Trump, who is often all over the map when it comes to policy issues, was remarkably consistent during the campaign when it came to his desire to leave Medicare and Medicaid untouched. But Warren had good reason to wonder whether that has changed, especially with Price slated to manage health care policy in the new administration. Waving around a copy of legislation Price proposed as chair of the House budget committee, Warren said the bill included large cuts to the pair of health programs over the next decade: $449 billion in Medicare cuts and more than $1 trillion for Medicaid.

Price squirmed in his seat and suggested that money isn’t the right metric with which to measure his plans, but Warren wasn’t having it. “These are really simple questions,” Warren said. “And frankly the millions of Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid today are not going to be very reassured by your notion that you have some metric other than the dollars that they need to provide these services.”

Giving up hope that Price would be willing to give a clear answer, Warren ended that line of questioning with a simple suggestion: “You might want to print out President-elect Trump’s statement—’I am not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid’—and post that above your desk in your new office, because Americans will be watching to see if you follow through on that promise.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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