'Why is the president going back on his promise?' Anchor grills Kellyanne Conway on the Senate healthcare bill

George Stephanopoulos grilled President Donald Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday over the Republican healthcare bill just unveiled in the Senate.

In an interview on "This Week," the ABC anchor pushed Conway to acknowledge that the bill proposes deep cuts to Medicaid, pointing out that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised he wouldn't cut the healthcare safety net program for low and middle-income Americans.

"Why is the president going back on his promise?" Stephanopoulos asked.

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Conway denied that the reductions were cuts, arguing that the administration was willing to consider giving more money to Medicaid than the Senate bill allowed.

"This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility, with Medicaid dollars, because they're closest to the people in need," Conway said. "We are trying to get Medicaid back to its original moorings."

The Senate healthcare bill unveiled last week proposes capping Medicaid spending, limiting the amount of federal government spending on the healthcare program.

Stephanopoulos pushed back on Conway's claim that the reductions over time were not cuts.

"Kellyanne, hold on a second. There's no way you could say that a 15-year-old on Medicaid is not going to be affected by the cuts in the future," Stephanopoulos said. "You said everybody who is on Medicaid now is grandfathered in and is not is not going to face any cuts. And that simply is not functional if you have more than $800 billion in cuts."

But Conway doubled down, and mockingly noted that a number of Americans paid a monetary penalty rather than paid for "this great thing called Obamacare."

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White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway holds up a memorandum from the Justice Department's Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein critical of Comey's position as director of the FBI at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: Kellyanne Conway is seen as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks at a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday January 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and her family arrive for the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House said 21,000 people are expected to attend the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor of US President Donald Trump listens to reporters ask questions to four US Republican Representatives, Michael Burgess of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Billy Long of Missouri and Greg Walden of Oregon after they met with Trump about a new healthcare bill at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway and one of her daughters arrives at Trump Tower for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump on January 2, 2017 in New York. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 469 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kellyanne Conway during an interview with host Seth Meyers on January 10, 2016 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 469 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kellyanne Conway during an interview with host Seth Meyers on January 10, 2016 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: White House Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, greets guests during the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House said 21,000 people were expected to attend the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaks at the annual March for Life rally in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
CONCORD, NH - MAY 10: Kellyanne Conway (left) and New Hampshire Governor Christopher T. Sununu during press conference following opioid listening session at the State House in Concord, NH on May 10, 2017. (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway chats with repoters on board Air Force One as they wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to arrive for travel to Philadelphia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (C) stands with a Secret Service agent as they wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to arrive to board Air Force One for travel to Philadelphia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway holds up a copy of the firing letter that President Donald Trump had sent to FBI Director James Comey during an interview with CNN at the White House May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump yesterday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway stands near a bust of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with labor leaders in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Senior aide Kellyanne Conway listens while White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the daily press briefing January 23, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is interviewed by Michael Wolff during a discussion at the Newseum titled The President and the Press: The First Amendment in the First 100 Days, on April 12, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senior staff at the White House Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon (L-R) applaud before being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, DC January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Counselor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Counselor to U.S. President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway prepares to go on the air in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks, Senior Counselor Steve Bannon and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway arrive for the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
Kellyanne Conway, advisor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, departs for a church service before the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump kisses his campaign manger Kellyanne Conway's hand at a pre-inauguration candlelight dinner with donors at Union Station in Washington, U.S. January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Advisor to President-elect Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway arrives to attend a candlelight dinner at Union Station on the eve of the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Kellyanne Conway, advisor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, arrives with him aboard his plane at Reagan National Airport in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: (L to R) Mark McKinnon of Showtime's �he Circus� KellyAnne Conway, Counselor to U.S. president Donald Trump; and Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, attend the Showtime-presented finale reception and discusson of the second season of THE CIRCUS: INSIDE THE BIGGEST STORY ON EARTH at The Newseum on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Showtime)
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"You keep calling them cuts, but we don't see them as cuts," she said, reiterating that the administration saw the reduced spending as "slowing the rate of government in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was."

"And George, they have to look at the whole health care bill — 142 pages in totem here — to have a full conversation," Conway continued. "When you get rid of these penalties, these taxes, when you open up the market, when you stop the insurers from leaving and just hemorrhaging out of the exchanges — you had 83 leave the markets last year, two dozen more — that will be over 100 by next year."

Still, other Republicans didn't buy her assessment.

Asked just minutes later about her opinion on Conway's statement, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine politely dismissed Conway.

"I respectfully disagree with her analysis," Collins told Stephanopoulos.

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