Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price couldn’t say whether the House Obamacare repeal bill was “mean” when confronted by Democrats with reports that President Trump claimed as such in a White House health care meeting with Senate Republicans.
“All I know is what I read in the paper on that,” Price said Thursday, adding that he wasn’t at the meeting, when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) brought up the Trump comments at a hearing Thursday on the HHS budget in a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) was first to raise what Trump reportedly said Tuesday about the House bill, the American Health Care Act, and asked if Price agreed. “It’s a yes or no answer,” she said, when Price at first try to dodge the question.
“No, it’s not a yes or no answer,” Price shot back.
According to congressional sources briefed on the meeting, as first reported by the AP and then confirmed by Politico and CNN, Trump said the House legislation was “mean, mean, mean” and a “son of a bitch.” He asked GOP senators to make their legislation, which is being crafted behind closed doors and outside the regular committee process, more “generous.”
The Congressional Budget Office said the House legislation would result in 23 million fewer people with health coverage and impose $834 in Medicaid cuts, while eliminating many of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes on the industry and high-earners.