Tags: Donald Trump | Healthcare Reform | Tom Price | HHS | AHCA | repeal and replace

HHS Sec. Price: Nobody Worse Off Financially Under AHCA

NBC's "Meet the Press"

By    |   Sunday, 12 Mar 2017 09:08 AM

The American Health Care Act means a "greater opportunity to increase coverage" for Americans over what they have available at the present time, while making sure "nobody will be worse off financially," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Sunday.

"The important thing is to appreciate that the market as it is right now is failing," Price told Chuck Todd, anchor of NBC's "Meet the Press With Chuck Todd."   

"Obamacare, the ACA, has failed," Price said. "You have premiums going up, you've got deductibles where people have an insurance card but they don't have any coverage, have a third of the counties in this nation that only have one insurer offering coverage, five states with only one insurer offering coverage."

Such a program is not a choice, and it is not "responsible" for people choosing their coverage, Price said.

Todd argued, while premiums went up, enrollment did as well, so "that's not the definition of a failing system."

The fact is, Price said, the number of people getting coverage through state Obamacare exchanges who were not covered before or who were not eligible for Medicaid coverage is "relatively small."

There are many people, he continued, who are worse off now under Obamacare, as they are not getting the care they need, after Todd asked if he could guarantee nobody would be worse off financially under the plan.

"Premiums are up and deductibles are up," Price said. "If you're an individual out there making $50,000, $60,000 and your deductible is $8,000, $10,000, 12,000 bucks you may have that insurance card, but you don't have coverage."

The AHCA puts in place a system that allows patients to select what coverage they want, while providing competition to drive down the costs of coverage, Price said.

And after Todd told Price he "ducked" the question about nobody being off worse, the HHS secretary said he firmly believes "nobody will be worse off financially."

"Remember, Chuck, there are 20 million folks right now in this nation who said to the federal government, 'Phooey. I'll pay a penalty or I'll take a waiver," Price said. "I'm not even going to get coverage in the system that we currently have.' That may be a system that works for government or insurance, but it doesn't work for people. We need a system that works for people."

There have been estimates there will still be as many as 15 million fewer people covered, Todd said, but Price said the new plan will not mean that many people will be without coverage, as they will "want to be covered because they'll be able to get something that works for them, not for government."

He also denied the new plan is what conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have been calling "Obamacare light."

The tax credits involved, he said, will equalize the cost of health coverage for people who get insurance through their employers and those who do not, which will benefit far more people working for small businesses.

Meanwhile, there has been some back and forth between whether the bill is through President Donald Trump or through House Republicans, and Price said it is a piece of legislation that is coming through Congress.

"The president's been listening to folks ever since he started his campaign," Price said. "The House and the Senate have been working together. It's been years in the making."

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The American Health Care Act means a "greater opportunity to increase coverage" for Americans over what they have available at the present time, while making sure "nobody will be worse off financially," Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Sunday.
Tom Price, HHS, AHCA, repeal and replace
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2017-08-12
Sunday, 12 Mar 2017 09:08 AM
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