Price Responds To Conservative Health Care Criticisms: It’s A ‘Work In Progress’

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The secretary of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that House Republicans’ health care proposal was “the beginning of the process,” but he maintained that it would keep costs down.

Secretary Tom Price responded to conservative groups who have called the proposal “Obamacare-lite,” among other things, by calling the it “the beginning of the process” and “a work in progress.”

“I think that this is the beginning of the process, and we look forward to working with them and others to make certain that again we come up with that process that aligns with the principles that we’ve defined, that they actually adhere to or agree with as well,” Price said, responding to conservative groups including Club for Growth and Heritage Action that have been critical of the proposal.

“And that is that we need a system that’s affordable for folks, a system that’s accessible for individuals, that’s of the highest quality, that incentivizes innovation, and that empowers patients and so we look forward to working with them through this process.”

Later, asked if he could guarantee that health care premiums would not go up as a result of the proposal, Price said “we believe strongly” that premiums would decrease if the proposal was enacted.

“In terms of premiums, we believe strongly that through this whole process and as it takes effect, that we’ll see a decrease in not only the premiums that individuals will see but a decrease in the cost of health care for folks,” he said.

Still, asked if the White House stood completely behind a proposal that President Donald Trump had earlier on Tuesday called “our wonderful new Healthcare Bill,” Price instead again called it “a work in progress” and a “work product.”

“This has been a work in progress,” he said. “As you know, this has been going on for over a year. The work that I had the privilege of participating in when I served in the House of Representatives in the last Congress was open and transparent. And we invited folks in to give their ideas. And tens if not hundreds of people had input into that process.”

“This grew out of that, and over the past number of weeks we have been having conversations with folks on the hill, in the House, and in the Senate and other stakeholders,” he continued.. This is a work product that is a result of that, all of that process.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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