Price says passing health care bill through House and Senate 'a fine needle' to be thread

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price weighs in on the GOP health care bill.
8:39 | 03/19/17

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Transcript for Price says passing health care bill through House and Senate 'a fine needle' to be thread
We're join bd I the president's point man on health care, Dr. Tom price. Thank you for joining thus morning. Thank you, George. Good to be with you. Last week, you said no one would be worse off financially under president trump's plan. Since then, we have seen the cbo report. Up to 4 million people over time won't be able to afford their health insurance. They say it will be a real double whammy on low er income, older Americans. Do you stand by that claim? I do. What the cbo was looking at, what they were charged to look at, was just one part of the overall plan. It's the second phase of all of this that is going on. A third faze, also ongoing as we speak, multiple other pieces of legislation that round out the plan and make it so it fulfills the president's promise of repealing and relacing Obamacare and putting in place a patient-centered system where we get patients and families and drrs making medical decisions. You can see thurpd plan, the plan the house is expected to vote on this week, some Americans will be worse off. That's not the plan. That is part of the plan. That's what they'll be voting on. You have to put in place the entire plan. And this is part of that plan. And it's an important part because what it does is repeal Obamacare. The taxes of how bobamacare. Provides flexibility. The medicaid system with work for parrots in the system. It makes it so every single American will have the financial feasibility to gain access to the coverage they want for themselves and for their family, not the government forces them to buy. It's an important part. It's a first step in this process. President seemed to concede in the interview with tucker Carlson that some of his voters won't do as well as Hillary Clinton voters. A Bloomberg analysis shows that counties that voted for you would do far less well under this bill than the counties that voted for Hillary. The more affluent counties. I know. It seems very inconsistent with the message of the last election. These are going to be negotiated. The president said he won't sign a bill that doesn't take care of his people. How does he plan to address the imbalance on the tax side? It's part of an entire plan. The changes we have put in place have begun. We have talked to multiple insurers. There are one-third of the counties in this nation have one issuer in the xhurns on the exchange. Five states have one issuer. People don't have a choice at all. That's not going affect the tax benefits the. That's what the president was taking about right there. That means people won't be able to get the care that they need. This is not about Washington politics. This is about people's health care. That's where it's important to keep the focus. That's why the administrative changes that we have already begun, we have had insurers tell us not only will we stay in the market, we'll get back into the market a. We need choices for patients. Competition to drive down costs so folks have greater opportunity to bet the coverage they want for themselves and their families. You have Republican senators like bill Cassidy and John Thune saying it will be harder for older Americans to get insurance. They say you're going to have to beef up the tax credits and maybe slow down the changes in medicaid. And that may be the case. We're looking at it and working with our legislative colleagues to make certain we have the kind of LAN that works for people in the real world. Something that the previous administration didn't do. If it needs more beefing up, as you say, for the pokfolks that are low income, between 50 and 64 years of age, that's something we would entertain. They've agreed to put a work requirement in for medicaid and allow states to block grant medicaid as well. Is that enough to get majority in the house or do you need to do more to bring along members of the house freedom caucus. Those conservatives as well? We have talked to so many people in the house of representatives. Understanding it's part of the overall plan ps the work requirements are important. They are something that is restorative to people's self-worth. Sense of themselves. About working when they're able to. We believe it's important for folks to have a job that they contribute not just to society but to they're own well being. To provide states greater flexibility in the medicaid population. As I mentioned, whether it's a per capita cap or a block grant. That means to people in the real world that states will be the ones fashioning their medicaid program for their vulnerable populations so it's much more responsive. Not a one size fits all from Washington program. The house sfree dom caucus is still against the bill. They're saying you'll have to speed up the medicaid changes. Do away with some of the mandates. Are those changes on the table right now? The president said he's been talking to the house members an members of the senate as well. We're working through this process. This is what tough legislation looks like. It's not unusual to have this give and take and this back and forth. I'm confident that as we move forward, we'll be able to move all portions of the plan, this reckon sill yags bill moving through congress right now. Certainly the administrative changes we believe are important. You remember, all of the regulations that the previous administration put in place. Hundreds of them literally thousands of guidance letters. Many of them were harmful to patients and drove up the cost of health coverage and drove people out of the ability to care for parrots in the real world. We're going to look at every one of them and make certain we do the right thing. The third bucket, the legislation coming forth to make certain that the insurance changes will work for people. You'll need democratic votes for the third bucket. The changes you're making to get conservatives in the house, speeding up the changes in medicaid, will cause more concern with the senators in the midwe midwest, rural areas, saying they're states are relying on the medicaid expansion. Eg you do to get votes in the house is going to cost you votes in the senate, isn't it? It's a fine needle that needs to be thread. No doubt about it. You mentioned working with Democrats on the third bucket. We sure hope so. We have been reaching out to people on the other side of the aisle. We're looking forward to their ideas, hopefully they're input and support. They know that the current law done work. That deductibles are sky-rocketing. A lot of people have health coverage but no health care because they can't afford the deductible. We're asking men and women of goodwill in the legislature and the legislative branch to come forward and work with us to solve the challenges that the American people see if their health care system. Again, we get a health care system that works for them. Not government but that works for people. Democrats don't see willing right now. Senator Rand Paul is coming right up. He says you should do a clean repeal like you did in 2015 and have a wide-open debate on how to replace Obamacare. Somewhat Wong with that? It places vulnerable people at risk. It's not something the president is willing to do. He said repeal and replace need to take place at the same time, concurrently. The second phase, the administrative changes. The third phase, the other pieces of legislation, they're being worked on as we speak. The plan, in its entirety, senator Paul would have to admit it includes the vast majority of the things he and others have been talking about that is important. To have a system that works for patients. On another subject, preet bharara was said to have been investigating your stock trades when you were a member of congress. Have you or your lawyers gotten any indication that you were the subject of investigation? No, no, know nothing about that whatsoever. Thank you for clearing that up. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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