Tags: Healthcare Reform | tom price | paul ryan | cbo | report | republican | health

Tom Price, Paul Ryan: CBO Report Ignored Part of GOP Health Plan

Image: Tom Price, Paul Ryan: CBO Report Ignored Part of GOP Health Plan
HHS Secretary Tom Price (AP)

By    |   Monday, 13 Mar 2017 06:09 PM

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was critical of the Congressional Budget Office's report Monday that 14 million Americans will lose health coverage under the Republican alternative to Obamacare, saying the CBO looked at only part of the GOP plan.

"The CBO looked at a portion of our plan, but not the entire plan," Price told reporters outside the White House as he exited the first meeting of Trump's Cabinet Monday afternoon.

The initial House bill would eliminate the mandates on individuals to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty. Republican leaders argue that the bill can be passed through the budget reconciliation process, and that other parts of their plan, including the ability to buy insurance plans across state lines will be passed later.

"We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out," Price said.

The report was released while the Cabinet meeting was taking place, and Price and Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said they'll have more to say once they've had the chance to read more into the CBO's details.

But Price was dubious of the CBO's claims that such a large number would be pushed off health insurance altogether. He noted that fewer people currently are on the health care exchanges than the CBO says will lose coverage.

"I'm not sure how they're going to get to 14 million people uninsured, if that's what they say, with only 8 million people on the exchange."

And, he said, the report appears to be assuming that people currently receiving Medicaid will leave the system on their own simply because they are not mandated to be in it.

"Tell me if anybody thinks that makes sense," he said.

The GOP plan is actually superior, Price added, because it allows individuals to buy any plan they want, not the government-mandated minimums required by the current Affordable Care Act that many find unaffordable and which in some states and counties allow for only one choice.

"The federal government has destined them to only have one opportunity to purchase coverage. And if that's not what they want, tough luck," Price said. "That's not our plan."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who led the crafting of the current bill, put a positive spin on the report, saying it "confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and improve access to quality, affordable care."

The CBO also, Ryan said, "finds that this legislation will provide massive tax relief, dramatically reduce the deficit, and make the most fundamental entitlement reform in more than a generation."

He agreed with Price's assessment that the report does not take into account the second step of the GOP's three-pronged approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare.

At least one Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, said the CBO report was not "particularly good news." "If they are half right, there are a lot of people uninsured," he told MSNBC. "It does reduce deficit and premiums some.... We should take the CBO report and see if we can make the bill better."

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was critical of the Congressional Budget Office's report Monday that 14 million Americans will lose health coverage under the Republican alternative to Obamacare, saying the CBO looked at only part of the GOP plan.
tom price, paul ryan, cbo, report, republican, health, plan
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2017-09-13
Monday, 13 Mar 2017 06:09 PM
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