Tom Price Backpedals: O’Care Mandate Repeal ‘Exactly The Right Thing To Do’

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price contradicted himself again on Wednesday, reversing his comment the previous day that eliminating the penalties associated with Obamacare’s individual mandate “will harm the pool in the [insurance] exchange market.”

“Repealing the individual mandate was exactly the right thing to do,” Price said in a statement to Politico Wednesday. “Forcing Americans to buy something they don’t want undermines individual liberty as well as free markets.”

“The only fair and effective way to bring down health care costs is to allow markets to create more choices for consumers and small businesses,” his statement continued.

It was a turn back to conservative orthodoxy, given that congressional Republicans eliminated the penalty for not having health coverage (or else receiving a waiver) as part of their tax bill last year. The change will take effect in 2019. 

On Tuesday, Price briefly strayed from that orthodoxy when he said in a speech to the World Health Care Congress that the mandate repeal “will harm the pool in the exchange market, because you’ll likely have individuals that are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently, that drives up the cost for other folks within that market.”

TPM obtained audio of Price’s comments. You can listen to them here.

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