Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, one of Donald Trump’s seemingly smarter Cabinet picks, seems to understand that there is some dissatisfaction in the GOP with the current attempts to undo the damage of Obamacare. According to Politico, he’s inviting more discussion on the current efforts (which is a good thing):
Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services, said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and others are talking with the five Senate Republicans who have said they do not support the Senate version of a Obamacare overhaul. They are Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Dean Heller (Nev.).
Those senators have said “we want to be able to support this bill,” Price said about conversations with the five holdouts.
Responding to a question about Heller’s opposition over concerns about Medicaid, Price said, “Medicaid isn’t the only vehicle to be able to purchase coverage or to be able to have coverage.” And to Paul, Price said that Obamacare’s “penalties go away” in the Senate legislation. “There are 6.5 million folks who are paying $3 billion for the privilege of not purchasing that coverage,” said Price.
I’m not going to pretend a pile of manure smells like roses, but the Senate bill is better than the House bill, which Price understands. He also understands what conservatives want in getting rid of Obamacare, so he appears to be the middle man in getting both sides to the table here.
I am not a fan of any bill that “amends” the Affordable Care Act rather than repealing it, but Price has the very unpopular job of selling something to his former colleagues and (I believe) selling some of their wants and needs to the White House and perhaps Senate leadership.
Price is the guy we knew would be best at undoing the clusterbomb that is Obamacare. It’s going to be a tough process, however, and it’s clear he knows that. How the White House and Congress move forward on this is going to be interesting to watch.