“We’re not pulling the rug out from under anybody,” said Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The goal of the House’s and the Senate’s health plans, and the Trump administration’s goal, he said, is “ensuring that there are more individuals who are insured under the new plan than under the old plan”—the old plan being the Affordable Care Act.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, has estimated that under the American Health Care Act introduced by the House, the number of uninsured people would increase by 23 million. (There is not an estimate for the Senate bill yet.)
Price was interviewed Sunday by The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. If the goal of the bills is to get health insurance to more people, and the CBO score says the House bill, at least, will not—how to explain that discrepancy? Goldberg asked. “Is the CBO wrong?”
“Yes,” Price said. “The CBO does a great job on budget; they do a relatively poor job of what the coverage consequences of a healthcare plan are. Their ability—anybody’s ability—to predict what human behavior is going to be without looking at the entire construct, is difficult. I would suggest to you that the numbers the CBO had before with the ACA, and the numbers they have now, are not accurate.”