ER doctor confronts Pence over Medicaid cuts in diner

ER doctor confronts Pence over Medicaid cuts in diner
© Greg Nash

An emergency room doctor and former Democratic congressional candidate confronted Vice President Pence in a diner on Thursday over proposed cuts to Medicaid.

Dr. Rob Davidson posted a video to Twitter of his interaction with Pence, after he said the vice president happened to come into the diner in Des Moines, Iowa, to greet people.

Davidson pointed to an announcement the Trump administration made earlier on Thursday, a controversial conservative move to allow states to cap their Medicaid funding with block grants.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I work in one of the poorest counties in Michigan and my patients depend on expanded Medicaid, so how is that going to affect my patients?” Davidson asked.

Pence responded by talking about his time as governor of Indiana, not the Trump administration's announcement on Thursday. When Pence was governor, in 2015, he did accept the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare, with some conservative changes like charging enrollees premiums. 

“Actually when I was governor of Indiana, we got a waiver from the Obama administration that actually allowed us to expand Medicaid coverage in the state,” Pence said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Right, but now they're talking about scaling back the Medicaid expansion that we got with the Affordable Care Act,” Davidson countered. 

Pence told Davidson that he was “oversimplifying” the situation.

“Medicaid as you know has a lot of problems,” Pence said. 

“It's been a godsend to the patients I serve in one of the poorest counties in the state of Michigan,” Davidson responded. 

Davidson ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2018, losing to Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.). He is currently executive director of the advocacy group the Committee to Protect Medicare. 

The Trump administration’s move on Thursday to allow Medicaid block grants set off a storm of protest from Democrats warning of damaging cuts, while Republicans said the move would allow states room to innovate and make changes to Medicaid.