An Iowa-based ER doctor ran into the Vice President last week. He used the opportunity to question Pence about recent cuts to Medicaid.
Recently, United States President Donald Trump came under severe backlash for suggesting he would undercut federally funded programs like Social Security and Medicare. What some Americans may not at present be aware of, however, is that his administration has already passed several cuts to Medicaid. This has, of course, left a lot of individuals scrambling to pay for their healthcare. Therefore, when Iowa-based ER doctor Rob Davidson ran into United States Vice President Mike Pence at a local diner last week, he made sure to let him know about what his policies are doing to everyday people on the ground.
The incident took place only mere hours after the Trump administration formally announced its plan to overhaul funding for Medicaid. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, explained that the administration would introduce a new, opt-in program for states presently participating in Medicaid. Currently, the program provides aid to 71 million Americans. Unfortunately, the newly-introduced changes would allow states to limit Medicaid spending, ultimately affecting some of their adult beneficiaries. States will henceforth be permitted to pick and choose which medications are paid for as well as cut coverage of services that aren't necessarily viewed as essential. Despite this, Verma affirmed on Thursday, "Adult Medicaid beneficiaries can hope for better health, and all beneficiaries can expect a stronger, more sustainable program for years to come."
1/2 I just ran into @VP Mike Pence at the Drake Diner in Des Moines. I confronted him about his damaging health care cuts because for me it's not about politics, it's about saving lives.#DrakeUniversity #IowaCaucus #TrumpRallyIA #MedTwitter pic.twitter.com/LuXQcl9GVn— Dr. Rob Davidson (@DrRobDavidson) January 31, 2020
The new cuts are especially problematic as the form of spending proposed for Medicaid is known as a "block grant." This means the federal government will offer states a fixed amount of money to states participating in Medicaid. Previously, states were given a flexible amount to work with. Critics of block grants, many of them Democrats, claim this form of funding will only result in slashed benefits that would have otherwise helped the poor. With this in mind, ER doctor Davidson confronted Vice President Pence. He asked, "Is [the new program] a good idea, or...?" But Pence refused to answer the question directly. Like Vice President, like President, we guess.
2/2 When I told him he is putting my patients' lives at risk, @VP deflected and denied knowledge of the policy. He either doesn't understand, or doesn't care about the impact of this administrations' policies on patients everywhere. pic.twitter.com/HcE1XYfUTj— Dr. Rob Davidson (@DrRobDavidson) January 31, 2020
Pence responded, "We expanded coverage in Indiana." Immediately, Davidson retorted, "Right, but I’m just talking about the president and your administration right now, and what they’re doing, Right now, they’re cutting Medicaid. It’s going to affect millions of people across the country — cutting Medicaid. Is that a good idea or is that a bad idea? It’s been a godsend to the patients I serve. It’s their lifeline. People with diabetes who can’t afford insulin... It’s a crisis. Reform and innovation in the setting of cuts equals less people with healthcare." As expected, Pence had little to say. "I think you’re oversimplifying it," he attempted to argue. "Medicaid, as you know, has a lot of problems." By the end of the conversation, he simply "agreed to disagree."
Following the conversation, Davidson took to Twitter to post a video of the exchange. "When I told him he is putting my patients' lives at risk, [the Vice President] deflected and denied knowledge of the policy," the ER doctor wrote. "He either doesn't understand, or doesn't care about the impact of this administration’s policies on patients everywhere." He also posted a video of the exchange. As one would expect, the video quickly went viral. Pence may not have said much, but his silence was enough to let America know his apathy on the subject. While thousands of people struggle to keep up with healthcare expenses, Vice President Pence has the privilege of keeping mum.