HHS Secretary: Senate Health Care Plan 'In Its Entirety Will Absolutely Bring Premiums Down'

By Melanie Arter | June 26, 2017 | 10:22 AM EDT

HHS Secretary Tom Price (Screenshot of CNN video)

(CNSNews.com) – Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Sunday promised that the Senate health care bill will “in its entirety” bring premiums down.

“The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down, because you increase competition, you increase choices for individuals. You allow folks to be able to purchase the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy.  Those are all of the secret keys to a market that actually works for health care and works for patients,” Price said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper.”



CNN’s Dana Bash pointed to the comments of Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who said, “The biggest lie in health care in the last 10 years was, if you like your doctor, you can keep it. The second biggest lie is your premiums are going to down, and there isn't anything in this piece of legislation that will lower your premiums.”

“Mr. Secretary, that is a Republican senator saying that you and your fellow Republicans who are pushing this bill are lying to voters when you claim that premiums are going to go down under your plan,” Bash said. “What's your response?”

“Yes. Well, I don't know that that's what he's saying. I think … there's a misunderstanding about what the entire plan is, and the fact of the matter is that … the bill is part of the plan, and then the kinds of things that we're doing through the Department of Health and Human Services add onto that, so that our goal is to decrease premiums, is to make it so that health coverage is actually affordable again,” Price said in response.

“Right now, we have got premiums that are going through the roof. We've got deductibles that are skyrocketing. You have got folks with a health coverage card, but no care because they can't afford the deductible. So, the status quo is unsustainable completely, and so we have got to act. Action is absolutely vital. And we look forward to continuing to work with Senator Heller. I have had wonderful conversations with him,” Price added.

Price said the administration has had conversations with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, and he looks forward “to working through this so that we have a health care system that actually works for the American people.” 

“But, Secretary Price, you said you have goals and aspirations, but he is saying, point blank, that the bill that is before the Senate does not bring premiums down. In fact, it will do the opposite. Can you promise that, at the end of the day, what the president will sign will bring premiums down for a majority of Americans?” Bash asked.

“Yes. The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down, because you increase competition, you increase choices for individuals. You allow folks to be able to purchase the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy. Those are all of the secret keys to a market that actually works for health care and works for patients. That's the key,” Price said.

“We have got a health care system right now that may work for government, may work for insurance companies in certain instances, but that's ending as well. But it certainly doesn't work for patients, and that's the key that we're trying to get to and a health care system that works for patients all across this land,” he added.