Bryan Caforio: Steve Knight’s use of alternative Medicaid facts

Protestors file into Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Feb. 23 to protest what they called "Trump care" with the United Here organization. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Since voting for Trumpcare, Steve Knight has publicly faced his constituents only a few times, but he has been asked repeatedly about Trumpcare’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

Three weeks after his vote, Knight said, “On the AHCA, no one will be kicked off Medicaid.” Asked if he would vote to cut Medicaid, he said, “I don’t see cutting any of those programs. You’ve got my commitment.”

And just outside his Santa Clarita office last week, when asked by health care activists to address Trumpcare’s cuts to Medicaid, he responded, “They wouldn’t affect them at all.”

Those statements are simply false.

Is it actually possible that Congressman Knight doesn’t know that when he voted for Trumpcare, he voted to give a trillion-dollar tax break to billionaires and bankers by cutting more than $800 billion from Medicaid?

As I see it, there are only two explanations: Knight has no idea the bill he voted for makes drastic cuts to Medicaid and puts our community at risk, or Knight knows Trumpcare makes those cuts but chooses to lie to his constituents because he knows how devastating these cuts would be to families right here in our community.

I’m not sure which is worse, but both options are terrible.

Here’s the truth: California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, serves more than a third of all Californians, including more than half of California’s seniors in nursing homes and children, and those with incomes just barely above the federal poverty line.

Under Trumpcare, Medi-Cal would lose $24 billion each year, which would cause millions of California’s children, disabled, and poor to lose care while seniors would be forced out of nursing homes and lose the in-home care that keeps many independent.

Medi-Cal provides health care to the most vulnerable among us, and it ensures that when people unexpectedly hit hard times, they don’t have to sacrifice lifesaving health care.

Too many of us are only one accident away from, or one lay-off away from, a hospital bill that will lead to bankruptcy. Families, especially those with young children, should never have to choose between putting food on the table and health care.

More than 63,000 of my neighbors in the 25th Congressional District on Medi-Cal right now would lose coverage under Trumpcare. More than 24,000 veterans in California who currently depend on Medi-Cal stand to lose their health care.

Trumpcare also prevents Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursements from Medicaid. More than half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage, so women who go to Planned Parenthood will no longer have access to lifesaving cancer screenings.

This health care debate shouldn’t be about partisan politics, and it can’t be based on lies; it’s about our families’ health and our ability to access lifesaving care.

There’s still time for Congressman Knight to start telling the truth, switch his vote, and finally stand with the people of this community. We must all call his office, go to any town halls he does hold, and urge him to stand with the people of California instead of the special interests and rich who benefit from Trumpcare.

Our lives literally depend on it.

Bryan Caforio lives in Santa Clarita and is a candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District.

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