A cancer survivor who says he’s alive because of Medicaid confronted Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the GOP’s opposition to the program.
“Medicaid expansion saved my life and saved me from medical bankruptcy,” Brian Kline said during a CNN town hall event on Wednesday night.
Kline is from Pennsylvania, one of the states that opted to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Republicans leaders in the House are aiming to replace the act with a health care bill that dramatically cuts Medicaid funding.
Kline said that because he only makes $11 an hour, he wouldn’t have been able to afford treatment for colon cancer without Medicaid.
“My life really depends on having access to my doctors and medical care,” he said. “Why do you want to take away my Medicaid expansion?”
Price responded that Medicaid has “real problems” and that the GOP’s health care plans aim to improve coverage for people who currently rely on Medicaid. This echoes comments he made last week that “nobody will be worse off financially” if Congress repeals Obamacare.
Despite Price’s claims, health care experts and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have said that the GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill will leave around 24 million people without health insurance. Among those most at risk for losing coverage are low-income Americans. As the CBO estimates, at least 14 million fewer people will be covered under Medicaid.