An emergency physician Thursday night confronted Vice President Mike Pence at a restaurant in Iowa over the Trump administration's newly unveiled plan to allow states to block-grant Medicaid, a move that could strip essential healthcare coverage from millions of vulnerable people.
"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?" Dr. Rob Davidson asked Pence at Drake Diner in Des Moines, where the vice president made an unscheduled stop.
"When I told him he is putting my patients' lives at risk, the vice president deflected and denied knowledge of the policy."
—Dr. Rob Davidson, Committee to Protect Medicare
Pence expressed surprise, claiming he "hadn't heard about cuts to Medicaid," even though the White House plan was announced to widespread outrage just hours earlier.
After Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, summarized the details of the plan to Pence, the vice president attempted to divert the conversation to his tenure as governor of Indiana.
"I was talking about the president and your administration right now, what they're doing," said Davidson. "Right now, they're cutting Medicaid... Your administration just announced this, they rolled it out today."
The exchange, captured in a cellphone video, has received over a million views since Davidson posted it on Twitter and Youtube Thursday night.
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"It's been a godsend to the patients I serve," Davidson said of Medicaid when Pence asserted the program has "a lot of problems."
"It's their lifeline," Davidson said.
Following the exchange, Davidson tweeted that Pence "either doesn't understand, or doesn't care about the impact of his administration's policies on patients everywhere."
"I confronted him about his damaging healthcare cuts because for me it's not about politics, it's about saving lives," wrote Davidson. "When I told him he is putting my patients' lives at risk, the vice president deflected and denied knowledge of the policy."