Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) got into a heated exchange with CNN's Poppy Harlow on Thursday over the nature of Medicaid cuts in the Republican health care bill.
"But, to the Medicaid issue. Remember, it is not a cut in Medicaid. It's a reduction in the rate of growth. It's going to grow a lot over ten years," Jordan said.
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"Come on, congressman, that is semantics. That is semantics because there's inflation, and costs have to grow, and budgeting has to grow with that, I mean that is semantics," Harlow said. "It will be cut by $834 billion over the next decade from where it would be under—"
"Again, the left always—" Jordan began to say.
"I'm not the left, I'm a journalist," Harlow interjected. "And I'm telling you what the nonpartisan CBO says."
Jordan attempted to defend his stance, but Harlow talked over him.
"And all I'm asking you, is the folks who pay your salary, and the crisis your state is going through right now, congressman—are you comfortable—is this doing all you can to help them? Or do you want to work on it so the Medicaid expansion is not pulled back so much?" Harlow asked.
"We want to do all we can to them," Jordan said. "I just don't follow the premise that you have to increase Medicaid coverage to deal with the opioid crisis. I want to deal with it, but I'm not so naive to think more government and more government health care is the answer to the problem."
"Growing Medicaid at a slight reduction in the rate of growth over ten years is not a cut, it's still going to grow a lot over ten years," Jordan continued.
Jordan said the Congressional Budget Office score should not be taken so seriously when determining how many people would be affected by Medicaid cuts, referencing a Forbes article from late June that questioned the CBO's methodology.
Harlow asked Jordan if he knew that CBO Director Keith Hall was appointed by Republicans.
"That's fine," Jordan said.
"Politics aside, $45 million more is in the Senate version for opioid addiction and recovery," Harlow said. "Is that enough? How are you going help the people in your community that are reeling right now?"
"Resources can certainly be part of the solution. A lot of it is families, churches, communities coming together, the right counseling, the right support system. That is more important than just financial resources," Jordan said.