Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price fielded tough questions from a cancer survivor, a stay-at-home dad, a family physician, and others during a CNN Health Care Town Hall on Wednesday night.
Price, a longtime opponent of ObamaCare, said the goals of TrumpCare are to "make certain that every single American has coverage" and that everyone "ought to be able to select the kind of coverage that you need for yourself." He was asked by Dr. Mitch Jacques, a family physician, if members of Congress truly understand the hardship that patients will face if they lose their health insurance. "We believe strongly that the current system is failing many, many people," Price responded. "There are 20 million folks in this country right now, 20 million individuals, who have told the federal government in spite of the mandate, in spite of the penalty, nonsense, don't throw me into that thing. I either can't afford it or I'm not interested."
He also defended tax breaks for health insurance CEOs, saying under the Affordable Care Act they were "singled out" and "punished."
A stay-at-home dad from Georgia told Price he doesn't think the federal government has any business delivering health care, and asked why Republicans are trying to repeal and replace ObamaCare instead of just repealing it. "We could just be repealing it, but the fact of the matter is it would leave many Americans behind and that's not what we want," Price said. "It would pull the rug out from under Americans, and that's not what we want."
Brian Kline, a cancer survivor, told Price he makes $11.60 an hour working a retail job, and he doesn't make enough money to pay for cancer care. Medicaid expansion saved his life, he said, so why did these lawmakers want to take it away from him? Price's response was less than empathetic. "It's wonderful that you have received the care that you have received, and it's because of the incredible innovations and great doctors across this land," he said, "but that's not necessarily true of everybody." Catherine Garcia