Mnuchin pressed on Trump's promise not to cut Medicaid

Mnuchin pressed on Trump's promise not to cut Medicaid
© Greg Nash
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was pressed Tuesday about President Trump's broken campaign promise not to cut Medicaid to reduce healthcare costs.

Trump’s budget, released Tuesday, includes $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, thought the president promised repeatedly while campaigning that he wouldn’t slash Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits for current recipients. 

Mnuchin said at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation fiscal forum Tuesday that Trump is trying to reduce healthcare costs, though he didn’t specify how cutting insurance assistance for needy families would do that.

“The Medicaid reductions and what’s gone on -- what the president is trying to do is control healthcare costs,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s John Harwood. “We have a system that is broken and we’re trying to fix that system and that’s what the healthcare program is all about,” he added, referring to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).  

That Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare would also cut the Medicaid by drawing back coverage expanded through the 2010 law. The president's budget blueprint is not binding, and Congress is expected to reject many of the proposals as it takes up the budget in the coming weeks and months.

When Harwood pressed Mnuchin on why Trump needed to flip on his promise in order to reduce costs, the secretary declined to specify.

“I’m not going to comment on healthcare,” Mnuchin said. “The healthcare is going through the system. The tax plan is all about creating jobs and growth.”

As a candidate, Trump promised to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”
 
“Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it,” he said when he launched his campaign in June 2015.
 
Trump also criticized other Republican presidential candidates, including Republican members of Congress who had backed budgets making changes to entitlements.
 
“People have been paying it for years. And now many of these candidates want to cut it. You save it by making the United States, by making us rich again, by taking back all of the money that’s being lost,” Trump said.