President Trump’s choice for health secretary declined Tuesday to promise that no Americans would be worse off under Trump’s executive order to ease provisions of the Affordable Care Act — and distanced himself from the president’s claim to have an almost-finished plan to replace the law.
That's less than reassuring.
For instance, he sidestepped a series of questions about the effects of the sweeping order Trump issued just hours after his swearing-in that directed agencies to lift or soften federal rules implementing aspects of the ACA. Price declined to commit that no one would be harmed, that no one would lose insurance coverage or that the regulations would be rewritten only after a plan exists to replace the 2010 health-care law.
He similarly deflected a question about whether the new administration would try to stop enforcement of the ACA’s individual insurance requirement prior to a replacement plan.
And even less reassuring.
Brown asked: “President Trump said he’s working with you on a replacement plan for the ACA, which is nearly finished and will be revealed after your confirmation. Is that true?”
Price replied: “It’s true that he said that, yes.”
The packed hearing room broke into laughter.
Brown persisted: “Did the president lie about this, that he’s not working with you?”
The nominee gave an oblique answer, saying, “I’ve had conversations with the president about health care.”
At least we can all laugh about it.
In another tense exchange, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pressed Price to concede that if policymakers made Medicaid a block-grant program, Americans would no longer be automatically entitled to receiving its coverage.
“When you move to a block grant, do you still have a right?” Menendez asked.
“No,” Price said. “I think it would be determined by how that was set up, if in fact that’s what Congress did.”
But Menendez said that Price, if confirmed “will have an enormous impact” on the program’s future. “So please don’t say to me that ‘I am just here to do just what Congress says,’ ” the senator said.
Senator Menendez isn't laughing. He'd feel better if he asked Price for some stock tips I bet.
In another case, the congressman was one of a select group of investors offered a private stock-purchasing deal in an Australian biotechnology company. Making the picture only more unattractive, Mr. Price apparently learned about the company from another House member, Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who was on the firm’s board.
How is that not insider trading?