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New stats show more doctors are taking Medicaid, belying a mendacious GOP talking point.

We call this look the faux-wonk.

Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

Republicans have a handful of go-to criticisms of Medicaid. One is that they believe it costs too much—which is why the House GOP has targeted $880 billion in cuts at the government-run health insurance program for low-income and disabled Americans as part of its Obamacare replacement plan. Of course, simply slashing coverage for the vulnerable seems a bit cold-hearted, so conservatives also like to claim that Medicaid does a poor job serving its beneficiaries, because doctors won’t accept it. That makes it easier to say with a straight face that they’re interested in “reforming” the program, rather than just bleeding it dry.

You can find variations of this point dating back years. But it’s been coming up a whole lot more lately, as Republicans have been trying to sell their austere version of health care reform to a deeply skeptical public. “More and more doctors just don’t take Medicaid,” Paul Ryan told reporters during a PowerPoint presentation a couple weeks back, repeating a claim he’d made in January. “I mean, what good is your coverage if you can’t get a doctor? And that is a huge, growing problem with Medicaid.” When confronted at a CNN town hall by a cancer survivor who’d obtained life-saving medical coverage thanks to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resorted to a similar argument.

“We have one third of the physicians in this nation, Brian, who are not seeing Medicaid patients,”  Price said (the cancer survivor’s was Brian). “And so if we want to be honest with ourselves as a society, it’s important we step back and say, ‘Why is that?’ Why are those doctors not seeing Medicaid patients? Let me just suggest it’s because the Medicaid program itself has real problems in it.” Price added that the Trump administration wants to move some patients from Medicaid to…

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