Sen. Ron Wyden Accuses Medicaid Head Of Using Poor Americans As Political Bargaining Chip

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Portland, Oregon May 24, 2017 7:58 p.m.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is accusing the head of Medicare and Medicaid of using low-income Americans as a political bargaining chip.

Wyden and three other ranking Democrats have written a letter to Trump appointee Seema Verma, demanding an explanation for a report published by the Los Angeles Times.

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The newspaper reported that Verma had promised health insurance companies that if they supported the new Republican health care plan, they'd continue to receive lucrative cost-sharing payments, a program to assist the poor.

Wyden said he wants answers.

“Instead of trying to make backroom deals that would hit Oregon like a tsunami, I believe that Ms. Verma ought to be reaching out for bipartisan ways to improve health care.”

A spokeswoman for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services denied any quid pro quo dealings and called the Los Angeles Times story preposterous and completely false.

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