Pelosi on Ryan's Medicaid Plan: People ‘Won’t Be Able to Go to Their Own Doctor’

Penny Starr | December 7, 2016 | 4:31pm EST
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House Minority Leader Nancy 

Pelosi (D-Calif.) (,

Penny Starr) 

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) proposal to cut Medicaid spending over time to help balance the federal budget would prevent seniors from seeing the doctor of their choosing.

“And I might add with what they want to do to the Affordable Care Act and what they want to do in the Ryan budget to Medicaid – a trillion dollars over 10 years taken out of Medicaid,” Pelosi said. “Two thirds of that goes to long-term heath care to our seniors.”

“They won’t be able to go to their own doctor if you take this away,” Pelosi said. “So all of this is connected. This is an assault on the stability of health for seniors in our country. An all-out assault.”

Ryan's plan calls for converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant to each state. "States will no longer be shackled by federally determined program requirements and enrollment criteria," the Republican summary says. They say their plan would allow states to offer Medicaid recipients more options and better access to care.

Pelosi mentioned Medicaid while speaking at a "Hands Off Medicare" press conference with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.). Activists held the event to announce the collection of 1 million signatures on a petition demanding that President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans not only not reform federal entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security but expand them. asked the Democrats how they would pay for the expansion of these federal programs.

Sanders, a socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, said the wealthiest Americans paying “their fair share” would finance the expansion. Schakowsky said the United States could afford to pay for the expansion because it is the wealthiest nation in the world.

Pelosi also responded to the question, citing the success of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the damage the Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace the law or make reforms to federal entitlement programs would cause.

“I’d like to make a further point,” Pelosi said. “Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, cost for health care in America has reached the lowest rate of increase in over 50 years that they have been measuring that increase.”

“The more benefits we give people they healthier they are; the lower the cost,” Pelosi said. “Prevention. Early intervention.”

“And with Medicare the intervention they want to have with the Affordable Care Act is to remove the free early examination for seniors,” Pelosi said. “What they want to do is open the donut hole so seniors pay more.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)   (AP) 

“So this is about lowering cost by improving the quality of access to health care and the quality of the health care,” Pelosi said. “It’s not just about health care in America; it’s about the good health of America – prevention, early intervention and the rest.

“So it’s a false economy to say if seniors pay more it’s going to cost less to the federal taxpayer,” Pelosi said. “It isn’t.”

Pelosi praised the activists, such as National Nurses United and, for the petition campaign, calling it the “voice of the people.”

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