With four Republican senators opposed to the current ObamaCare replacement bill, the GOP-led Congress has an unclear road to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
But the existing version of the legislation, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price said on Monday night, provides a series of attractive options for Americans.
“It’s to stick to those principles of health care,” Price said in a Fox News exclusive on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Making health care affordable, accessible, of the highest quality and provide choices for patients. So: protects patients, provides more choices for patients, lowers cost and strengthens Medicaid. That’s it in a nutshell.”
“Coverage comes when people have something that they want to purchase,” Price said. “Coverage doesn’t come when Washington tells you what to buy. The way that you get people to get health coverage is that you provide them with a product that they actually want.”
Breaking down the changes for Americans currently on Medicaid, Price detailed a long-term plan.
“For those individuals on Medicaid who were eligible for Medicaid previously, there’s essentially no change whatsoever,” the secretary said. “Over a period of time, those individuals that are on Medicaid but were able-bodied adults, they would transition to a personal market, a private insurance market that would actually be more responsive to them and allow them to purchase the kind of coverage they want. Virtually everybody’s prices will come down for the premiums that they pay for their coverage and they will get coverage that’s more responsive to them. So we strengthen the Medicaid system, we drive prices down, we increase choices, that’s what patient-centered health care is all about.”
Asked if a potential single-payer system for catastrophic coverage could be in the works if the new legislation fails to pass, Price said that the “devil’s in the details.”
“One, I think that the consequences of that actually reduce the ability for you to get the kind of coverage that you want for the services that you need,” Price stated. “Two, I think the answer to that question has to wait until the outcome of this debate. If Congress is able to pass a bill and put it on the President’s desk, then I think that you will be a long way away from single-payer.”
“I’m not for something where the government decides what’s covered for individuals because I know that when that happens – as happens in every other system that has it – then the government decides what equals health care and you don’t,” the secretary said.