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.”