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.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate