HHS Secretary Tom Price: We need healthcare system to work for patients not government

The Health and Human Services head contended Americans want the administration to grant more control over Medicaid to states and drive down costs so people can afford the coverage they want.
By Tom Sullivan
09:01 AM

HHS Secretary Tom Price called the American Health Care Act "much better than what's out there now," and said it will give every single American affordable insurance. 

The Affordable Care Act is not working, the Republican plan to replace it is intended to make insurance financially feasible for every single American, and U.S. states should have more power, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said.

“We believe the way you measure the success of the program is whether or not it takes care of individuals — not how much money you put into it,” Price said during a CNN town hall Wednesday night. “There’s a better way to provide the care and services for Medicaid patients if we allow the states, not Washington D.C., to design a program that’s most effective.”

The American Health Care Act, however, has come under fire — and from both political parties, with even some conservative Republicans calling for a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act instead.

And earlier this week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report projecting that the AHCA would reduce the number of insured Americans by 14 million within two years and 24 million by 2026.  

Price said the GOP plan as it exists right now would enable citizens to choose and afford insurance options that work best for them.

“If we return these decisions to people, not the federal government, we’ll be in a much better spot,” Price said. “We want a system that recognizes the uniqueness of patients.”

Former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Price said, decreases choice and competition by dictating out of Washington what boils down to three insurance choices. However, ncreasing competition and choice can drive down costs.

“The more we can provide options and choices, that’s how you get to the best system because it works for patients not government,” Price said.

To that extent, Price said, as Health and human Services Secretary his three top priorities are addressing mental illness, childhood obesity and the opioid epidemic.

As for the American Health Care Act, Price added, it increases services for women, ensures that care is affordable for every American, gets people covered by Medicaid so they get the care they need — and people who currently have coverage under their employers will not be impacted.

“The plan we put forward is much better than what’s there now,” Price said. “We could just be repealing it but that would pull the rug out from Americans and that’s not what we want. Repeal and replace is what the American people desire.”

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

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