Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway did us all a service on Monday’s Fox & Friends, clarifying what we could do if our Medicaid was cut thanks to the Republican healthcare bill (emphasis mine):
Medicaid is intended for the poor, the needy, and the sick. And what it has done is, under Obamacare, it has expanded the Medicaid pool of people who, quote, qualified beyond that. So if you have an able-bodied American who, again, is not poor, sick, needy — we’re not talking about the elderly who benefit, the children, the pregnant women, the disabled — if you’re able-bodied and you would like to go find employment and have employer-sponsored benefits, then you should be able to do that, and maybe you belong, as Secretary Price has made clear, in other places.
If that run-on sentence is difficult to parse, here is another way to frame Conway’s talking point: If you’re “able-bodied,” you shouldn’t be relying on the government for healthcare. Just find a job that covers you, dummy!
Aside from being callous and simplistic advice, it’s also based on a dangerous fallacy. As Think Progress points out, the notion that everyone simply has the option to get healthcare through a job is nuts (emphasis mine):
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 59 percent of Medicaid adults have jobs, and nearly 80 percent are part of working families. While many of those people might prefer to take advantage of employer-offered health care, a large percentage do not have that option. Only 46 percent of employers offer health care coverage, according to the latest KFF data.
Conway also railed against the notion that the Republican healthcare plan contains any cuts to Medicaid at all. Again, she’s not telling the truth. The Senate version of the bill contains cuts to the program beyond even the estimated $800 billion in cuts that the House version had.
As of right now, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still aims to get a vote on the bill before Congress’ July 4th recess.