Trump Budget Director Mulvaney on health care: 'What people want is to get care,' not insurance coverage

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney.
13:15 | 03/12/17

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Transcript for Trump Budget Director Mulvaney on health care: 'What people want is to get care,' not insurance coverage
Is this week president trump's moment of truth? 50 days in, he's smashed convention, shocked official Washington, and created a chaotic new Normal in the white house. This week, official Washington poised to strike back. It has been eight days now since the president leveled the explosive charge against president Obama, accusing him of ordering illegal wiretaps against the trump campaign. A claim that president Obama and numerous government officials call flat out untrue. In the eight days, trump has offered zero evidence and refused to answer questions like these from Jonathan Karl. Any proof on the wiretapping? Thank you, press. Thank you, thank you, press. Thank you. Thank you. Please head out behind you. Are you going to provide any proof? Please head out. Now, they've asked trump's justice department to put up the evidence or shoot it down. Deadline, tomorrow. And tomorrow, a key day for president trump's promise to repeal Obama care and replace it with something better. Obamacare is a disaster. We're doing to repeal it and replace it. We're going repeal it and replace it. With something great. Less expensive and far better. We're going have great health care. The amazing thing, it's going to cost, very amazing. It's going to cost the country less and it's going to cost the people less. I mean, how good is that? Better care, lower costs, everyone covered. That is trump's promise. Tomorrow, the independent congressional budget office expected to go public with its assessment on whether the legislation president trump is backing now will meet the promises he made during the campaign. We'll cover it all today. Right now, Mick mull vainny. I want to get a sense of how the president will deal with competing promises. To repeal and replace oobamacare. He wants a plan that will help everyone. We'll have insurance for everybody. Much less expensive and much better. And during the campaign, he promised no cuts in medicaid. A tweet from may 7, 015, I was the first and only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid. As you know, so far, the independent analysis shows that 6 to 15 million Americans will lose coverage they now have under Obama care. And about $370 billion less in federal funding for medicaid over the next ten years. How do you square that impact with the president's promises? George, as a lot of moving pieces at one time. Let me see if it can break it down to smaller pieces and Paras. Talk about the coverage levels. The number of people covered. We continue to think, and have for a long time, that the cbo is scoring the wrong thing. They're scoring Obamacare as it exists today. Not tomorrow. It is this close from completely collapsing. I live in South Carolina. We're down to one provider in that state. There are four or five states down to one provider. The cbo is failing to take into consideration what happens to folks in South Carolina when there are no providers chrks there may be as soon as next year. We don't think the cbo is counting incorrectly that way. Go back to the original idea of Obama kair. People could afford to go to the doctor. They can't. They can afford to have coverage. A plastic piece of paper that says they have an insurance policy. They can't afford to go to the doctor. The president said insurance for everybody. I was on Obama care when I was in the house. My family's deductibles were over $15,000 a year. Other folks who don't make as much money as I did were on the same plan. Do you think they could afford to go to the doctor? That's what we're trying to fix. Not coverage for people. Coverage they can afford. But care they can afford. When they get sick, they can go to the doctor. That's what the Donald Trump plan is working on. That's where we think it will be wildly successful. They'll have less money to pay for that coverage right now. Less money to pay for that care. On the point of medicaid, the president said in the campaign he would not cut medicaid. This bill is going to reduce federal medicaid funding by about $370 billion over ten xwreerps. But more care. I was here with governors about two weeks ago. They kept asking for more control over their own medicaid. I was in the state legislature, we would have begged for more control over how our medicaid dollars got spent. They're not begging for fewer dollars. But they're begging for better control to get more efficiency to serve their people. The medicaid system today is a one size fits all system. We fixed that. You can provide better services for less if you get the federal government out of the way. Are you saying if the congressnal budget office says fewer people will be covered, costs will be going up, you'll be WRE jekting that anal snis. I don't think the costs will go up at all. In order for this to be passed on budget reconciliation, it has to reduce the debt and thus save money. On the coverage, though, if it says fewer people will be covered, you to reject that? If the cbo is right about Obamacare to begin with, there would be 8 million more people on Obamacare today than there are. I love the folks in the cbo. They work really hard. Sometimes we ask them to do things they're not capable of doing. It sounds like you'll reject. Senator Tom cotton coming up next. He says it's time to slow this down and start over. He said your bill is going to make the system worse than it is now. Let's listen. Sflooim afraid it could make it worse in some ways. Insurance rates would continue to go up. Americans would have less control and less choice. I say it's time to take a pause. Take stock of how we got to where we are. What do you say to senator cotton? Tom's good -- senator cot season a good friend. I would tell him he knows how the house and senate work. Thing move through the house relatively quickly. This is still slower than Obamacare wept. We'll have another committee hearing this week. Another one next week before the vote goes to a vote -- the bill goes a vote on the floor. Then things will, as they always will, and as the founding fathers sbepded them to, slow down in the senate. I'm sure senator cotton will have a chance to review the bill to amend the bill. But let's not get lost on that, George. This is the framework. This is the bill the president has looked at and said, yes, this is what will work. If the house thinks they can make it a little better. If the senate thinks they can make it a little better, we're open to talking about those things. There's though reason to rush it. He says this will increase premiums. I happen to disagree with senator cotton. One of the things many of my friends on the right, I used to be a member of the right wing caucus on the house. I think they're discounting the value of competition. Again, go back to the example where I live in South Carolina. One provider. Turned plan we're talking about now, we have already -- we though that more providers will come into South Carolina. That competition, the competition Republicans so often want in so many parts of our economy, that competition will tepid to drive down premiums. Your former colleagues in the house have met with president trump. They say he's open to moving up the date to phase out the medicare expansion. I was in those meetings. I'll tell you what we told them in the meetings. The bill here is a framework. It's a nice framework. It's a good we peel and replacement bill. If there are ideas in the house. I think congressman griffin had good ideas. Perhaps putting work retirements in on medicaid. It would improve the bill. If the house cease fit to make the bill betterings they would have the support of the white house. You're behind that right now. How about the opposition of the aarp. They've put out an ad where they're saying this bill is going to be an age tax on middle income Americans. Let's listen. As insurance companies to charge an age tax on older American, combined with fewer tax credits, this could mean an $8,000 a year premium hike on those that with least afford it. Unacceptable. Second, the bill gives big drug companies a sweetheart tax break while doing nothing to lower drug costs for everyday Americans. The joint tax committee shows your bill will provide $157 billion in tax cuts to people with high incomes. Middle income Americans will pay for for insurance. How is that fair? Think that's the same group that did the television ads of a guy looking like Paul Ryan pushing granny off the edge of a cliff back in 2010. My guess is that the millions of e-mails that that group and other groups are sending out today have a click here to donate at the bottom. They're not in the business of fixing things. They're trying to protect their own self-interests. To raise money. That's unform gnat. Look, we promised to repeal the taxes for owe be pa air. That's what the bill does. I think we should focus more on the benefits folks are going to get from the approved health care, the affordable health care, not just affordable health coverage, that this new level of protection would provide. They're pointing out, older Americans, those from 55 to 64, are going to be paying more because insurance companies will be able to charge them more. I doubt that any of those analysises take into account the use of has. The lower premiums from competition. Listen, everybody's got skin in the game. Everybody has interested party. They're trying to protect their own. What we're trying to do is make things better for as many people as we can. Right now, the bill is doing that. The burden may be falling hardest on older, middle income Americans. Your critics are saying this is a massive transfer of wealth from lower income Americans to upper income Americans when you combine the tax cuts to lower subsidies. A massive transfer of wealth? We're making sure that the truly indigent still have care. Medicaid is still there. We think it's going to be even better. The people who are just above medicaid but still have difficulty buying their own premiums will not only have the refundable tax credit. They'll have the ability to use has to pay for their -- their health care on a tax advantage basis. Just like you and I get. So, I don't understand the criticisms lobbed in that fashion. The bill actually helps a great many people. And helps them get something hay need. Which is health care. Not health coverage. Millions will be paying more. And the wealthy get a tax break. Let me move on to the state of the union. George, I'm sorry. You're taking that as if it's gospel truth. It's the argument of a dpoup of people who don't like the bill. We repeal the taxes in Obamacare. Certain groups will pay less tax is not central to the issue. We have done this in a fashion that allows the people who cannot afford health care now to get it. I don't know why some people are so dead set against other people benefiting at the same time. But those getting subsidies right now, they're going to be getting -- the tax credit is worth less than the subsidies insurance companies will be free under your bill to charge older Americans more. You're falling into the trap. You're worried about giving people coverage. It's almost as if -- The president said he wanted everyone covered, sir. The president said that. He want everybody to get care. He said he wants everyone covered. What people want is to get care. When people get sick, they want to be able to afford to go to the doctor. That's where Obamacare has failed them several times over. That's the problem we're fixes. When you get sick, you can afford to go to the doctor. I had it, George. I have livered through this first hand. You didn't have Obamacare. I did. $1,000, $15,000 a deductible for my family. Luckily, we could afford it. People making much less than I do could had the same plan. They could not afford to go to the doctor. That was a broken system. That was one of the many, many reasons that Obamacare was failing and people are begging us to replace it. Finally, congressman couplincoup couplings is coming up on the program. Here's what he said after the meeting. He was -- enthusiastic. And, he -- he was clearly aware of the problem. And clearly, and he made it clear to us that he wanted to do something about it. So is the administration going get fully behind the idea that medicare negotiate drug prices? We're try to find a way to drive down drug prices. Congressman Cummings and I served on the oversite committee. We presided over the epi pen problem. He and I both learn together, it's government regulation. The inability for drug companies and medical device manufacturers to get things aprooud. Government intervention that is driving up the cost. I do know for a fact the administration is going to be looking at finding a way to fix it. I hope we can count on congressman Cummings' support. So he was wrong? I fwhunt that meeting. Trying to drive down the cost of actual health care that men and women in this country have to pay. Thank you, director Mulvaney. Thank you, George.

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

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