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Report: Media misleading Americans about Republican governors' welfare fix

 September 2, 2023

The media are misrepresenting the efforts of Republican governors when it comes to the work they are doing to reform Medicaid, according to an op-ed published in the New York Post.

Nick Stehle, vice president of communications at the Foundation for Government Accountability chronicles the manner in which media outlets have mischaracterized initiatives led by Republican governors to streamline Medicaid by removing recipients who are not eligible, with journalists erroneously describing these efforts as an assault on the most vulnerable.

Despite the startling fact that there were over 20 million ineligible recipients of Medicaid at the start of the year, costing taxpayers a whopping $16 billion monthly, both the media and the Democratic Party are accused of framing this as nothing more than an attack on helpless families. Critics such as Stehle argue that this portrayal is not only baseless but also blatantly dishonest, as red states are merely attempting to optimize Medicaid and advocate for both taxpayers and those genuinely in need.

Portrayal conflicts with reality

According to media critics, outlets have focused on sharing sob stories of Americans losing Medicaid when they actually qualified for such assistance and of using a handful of admitted errors to attack the entire effort to reform the program.

Critics argue that this is a classic case of finding exceptions and pretending they are the rule.

An example of this phenomenon cited by Stehle is a widely shared Washington Post article accusing Arkansas officials of heartlessly taking away Medicaid from a mom and her baby.

Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Arkansas has removed more than 300,000 potentially ineligible people from the Medicaid rolls since April, compared to Michigan, which has only removed 23,000, swift efforts at reform that have made her a target of the left.

Impact of Medicaid overcrowding

Stehle, who has a special-needs son dependent on Medicaid, has shared his personal experience of struggling to get appointments and prescriptions in recent years due to ineligible people competing for the same services.

He argues that this situation is exactly why red states are working hard to fix Medicaid.

Millions of people rightfully rely on the program, only to be pushed to the back of the line by people who should not be there in the first place.

Stehle questions why the media won't tell these stories and suggests it is because it doesn't advance the agenda of welfare for all.

Working hard for deserving beneficiaries

Stehle also shares that his son was accidentally removed from Medicaid by state officials, but after contacting the appropriate state agency, he was back on the program in a matter of days.

He goes on to argue that state agencies in Arkansas have moved heaven and earth for people who depend on Medicaid and work hard to do the right thing.

Stehle is grateful to Sanders for standing up for his son and for taxpayers.

He argues that it is equally right for state officials to fight to get people who shouldn't be on Medicaid off the program so that resources are available for those who truly need them.

Efforts to remove ineligible recipients continue

In the last five months, states have unenrolled more than 5.4 million ineligible Medicaid recipients, the vast majority of whom resided in red states.

Those who support that push contend that every governor and state legislature working to get the 20 million-plus ineligible people off Medicaid as quickly as possible are in reality standing up for both the truly needy and the taxpayers who fund the services they receive.

They believe that the Republican initiatives represent a necessary effort meant to fix a broken program and that the media's portrayal of the situation is profoundly flawed and deliberately irresponsible.


  • The media are sharing sob stories and using a handful of errors to attack efforts from Republican governors to reform Medicaid.
  • Overcrowding of Medicaid by ineligible recipients is harming those who genuinely need the services.
  • State agencies work hard for those who depend on Medicaid and do the right thing.
  • Efforts to remove ineligible recipients are ongoing and necessary to fix a broken program.