4 Infuriating Moments from Tom Price's Health Care Bill Preview
On Tuesday, new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price introduced the long-awaited Republican alternative to Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. As is a trademark of the Trump administration, the bill raised more questions than it answered.
Here are four of the press briefing's most infuriating moments.
1. Props, props, props.
At one point, Price pointed to a table piled with papers containing the full text of the new Republican proposal and the ACA. He asked the roomful of reporters to notice how much higher the Affordable Care Act stack was in comparison to Trump's proposed bill.
“Some of you will recall I actually turned the pages and went through that piece of legislation in a YouTube," he added. "The bill on the right is the current bill."
2. Clarifying Chaffetz.
Price refused to directly address a controversial comment on health insurance costs made by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in a CNN interview earlier Tuesday. The Utah congressman had suggested Americans may have to choose between buying a new iPhone and getting heath insurance, concluding that, "maybe they should invest in their own health care.”
“This is an important question because what's happening right now is that the American people are having to sacrifice in order to purchase coverage," Price said. “And, as I mentioned, many individuals can’t afford the kind of coverage that they have right now.”
3. Medicaid misnomers.
During his overview of groups with "huge challenges" to gaining care, Price called Medicaid "a program that, by and large, has decreased the ability for folks to gain access to care."
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that "Medicaid expansion boosts access to primary care, curtails emergency department visits, and improves access to and affordability of medication, whether states pursue conventional expansion or a customized program like Arkansas’ 'private option'."
In fact, an August 2016 study noted that "low-income adults from Kentucky and Arkansas fared far better after expansion in those states than their counterparts in Texas, the largest state that has not extended coverage to those earning between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty level."
4. Choosing your plan.
After touting the importance of being able to select a physician and place to be treated, Price immediately backtracked on his stance when asked about the tenuous future of Planned Parenthood.
"In terms of of Planned Parenthood, we think it's important that legislature work its will on this process; it's incredibly important that we not violate anybody's conscience," Price answered vaguely.
Research indicates community health centers would be unable to pick up the slack if the nonprofit were to be defunded.