HHS Chief Offers Few Specifics As GOP Hardliners Revolt Over ACA Repeal

March 1, 2017 6:42 p.m.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Wednesday offered few specifics about Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, instead criticizing the existing healthcare law and saying that the GOP is “getting very, very close” to figuring out what comes next.

“I think we are getting very, very close. We’ve got good input from all individuals across the Hill,” Price said in an interview on Fox News. “There is unanimity on the principles and now we’ve got to get down to the specifics.”

“Are Republicans singing from the same sheet of music? It sounds, up on Capitol Hill, that they are not yet,” Bret Baier asked.

“This is what the legislative process looks like,” Price said. “This isn’t anything unusual.”

“There are people who are worried they are going to lose what they have through Obamacare,” Baier said. “Can you say that the coverage numbers are going to be as high as currently are being covered?”

“The status quo is not acceptable and that’s when our friends on the other side of the aisle don’t seem to appreciate,” Price said. “If you compare our plan as we move forward to the actual current law that we have and the downward trend that we have in people being able to be covered, I think we will show very, very well.”

“You know the criticism, that Republicans have been talking about this for a long time and have not herded the cats around one plan,” Baier said.

“You know how this town works,” Price said. “Things don’t happen until they have to happen, and now they have to happen.”

Republican hardliners revolted against proposals in a leaked draft of a replacement plan to rework the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies into refundable tax credits.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) and House Republican Study Committee Chair Mark Walker (R-NC) said they would have trouble voting for a bill resembling the recently leaked draft.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) signaled their support for Meadows and Walker in tweets posted Monday night. Two outside conservative groups, Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, announced their support on Tuesday.

“Conservatives will be listened to or there won’t be a repeal,” Paul said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re not just going along with whatever they try to shove down our throats. We’re going to be a big part of this.”

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