Kellyanne Conway defends steep cuts to Medicaid, says adults can find jobs

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on ABC's "This Week" program on Sunday, facing tough questions about deep cuts to Medicaid in the Better Health Care Act -- the bill, colloquially dubbed Trumpcare, that Senate GOP leaders released Thursday to replace the Affordable Care Act.

In her interview, she assured anchor George Stephanopoulos that the looming threat of steep cuts to Medicaid from the projected $800 billion repeal is not as it may appear to some.

See how Kellyanne Conway makes and spends her $39 million fortune:

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How Kellyanne Conway makes and spends her $39 million fortune
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How Kellyanne Conway makes and spends her $39 million fortune

After graduating law school from George Washington University, Conway worked as an assistant at a firm headed by Richard Wirthlin, who was Ronald Reagan's pollster and strategist. She later came to work with Newt Gingrich in the 1990s.

Source: The New Yorker

(Reuters Photographer / Reuters)

In '95, at 28, Conway founded The Polling Company, of which she is still CEO. As New York Magazine reported, Conway quickly recognized "there was money to be made" in advising private corporations and politicians on how women vote — the population her company focused on.

Source: New York Magazine

Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During the '90s, Conway began making regular television appearances along with other political commentators, such as Ann Coulter.

Charlie Rose
 

She was also a regular on Bill Maher’s show "Politically Incorrect."

NoCowEyes/YouTube

In 2001, Conway married George T. Conway III. They have since had four children.

George T. Conway III is a lawyer who graduated from Yale Law School in 1987, and played a part in the impeachment of President Clinton, as a member of the team representing Paula Jones.

Source: New Yorker, CNN

Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Conway has worked with high-profile clients including the National Football League and Philip Morris.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He currently works for what's considered one of the country's "most grueling law firms," Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City.

Source: Business Insider

In 2001 the newly married couple bought a condo in Trump World Tower, where they lived for seven years. It was during that time that Conway met Donald Trump. "I sat on the condo board, and he’s very involved in his condos," she told The New Yorker.

Source: The New Yorker

(Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2004, Conway co-authored the book "What Women Really Want" with democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

C-SPAN Book TV

By 2008 the Conways had moved to what Forbes has called "America’s most expensive Zip Code," Alpine, New Jersey. The family joined the Alpine Country Club in Demarest, New Jersey. There annual memberships can cost up to $75,000, plus $25,000 a year in dues.

Source: Page Six

(Facebook)

Later, Conway worked with Newt Gringrich again during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential run. A few years after, the Polling Company began working with various republican candidates including Ben Carson and Ted Cruz starting in 2015.

C-SPAN

Source: Politico

While the super PAC behind Carson's campaign paid the Polling Company $65,000, the Polling Company later worked with Cruz's three PACs. After Cruz dropped out, one of his super PACs changed its name and backed Trump — continuing to work with The Polling Company. By October 2016, Conway's firm had made $1.9 million from the 2016 election.

Source: Politico

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

In July Conway joined Trump's campaign team as an advisor, and later officially became campaign manager in August — at this time, her firm was still receiving payments from Trump's PAC.

REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Today, much of Conway's income comes from The Polling Company — somewhere between $1-5 million, and the couple has earned thousands in dividends from stocks, and one Citibank account has been reported as being valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.

Source

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

At the start of President Trump's term in office, the Conways reported assets worth between $10 million and $39.3 million, and the couple recently moved into a $8 million dollar DC-area home.

Coldwell Banker

Source: ABC News, Business Insider

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"These are not cuts to Medicaid, George," Conway said. "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."

By people, Conway was referring to "the poor, the sick, the needy, the disabled, children, some elderly, women — particularly pregnant women. We are trying to get Medicaid back to its original mores."

She further clarified to Stephanopoulos that the ACA, enacted under the Obama administration, expanded Medicaid access to "able-bodied Americans" living "way above the poverty line." She said that they "should at least see if there are other options for them."

"If they're able-bodied, and they want to work, then they'll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do," Conway stated.

SEE ALSO: Kellyanne Conway grilled live on air on the Senate health care bill

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), roughly 80 percent of able-bodied adults -- or, non-elderly adults who don't qualify for disability benefits on Medicaid -- are members of families where someone is employed and 59 percent are employed themselves.

Medicaid expansion extended benefits to many of these people as a chunk of them work low-paying, part-time or temporary positions that don't provide coverage. According to KFF, only 30 percent of working adults living below the federal poverty line were given access to employer-sponsored coverage.

If the ACA is repealed, over 24 million Americans could lose insurance coverage over the next five years. However, the Senate's 142-page measure has faced criticism ahead of a vote Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, called for this week.

So far, five conservative senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada, announced they would oppose the health care bill in its current form -- which is more than enough to bring it to a halt.

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