McConnell assures hesitant senators that deep Medicaid cuts won’t actually happen

Benjamin Decatur, DCNF

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to assure reluctant senators Thursday that the GOP health care bill’s deepest cuts to Medicaid will likely never go into effect, according to The Washington Post.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Republican leaders released an updated draft health care bill Thursday, hoping to garner support from senators who opposed the original draft. However, several moderate senators — including West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — remained hesitant due to the bill’s deep Medicaid cuts.

McConnell, under renewed pressure from President Trump, aimed to placate their concerns.

“He’s trying to sell the pragmatists like Portman, like Capito on ‘the CPI-U [Urban Consumer Price Index] will never happen,’” a GOP lobbyist and former Hill staffer told WaPo.

Federal Medicaid spending, which is pegged to the Urban Consumer Price Index, would drop by 26 percent beginning in 2026 under the current bill. Any major effects from cutting Medicaid would be felt long after senators’ next elections, and Congress would likely still have time to find a way to avoid the cuts.

McConnell’s remarks come as the majority leader seeks to bring together both moderate and conservative senators who have voiced concern about the GOP’s latest health care effort.

The new bill still includes substantial cuts to Medicaid and rolls back Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, despite reservations from some moderate GOP lawmakers and governors.

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