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Chuck Todd busts Trump health chief: "Not a single analysis" says you'll lower premiums

As much as this administration may not like it, the press have a crucial role to play in bringing the truth and the facts to the American people. And when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price tried to deceive the public about the impact the GOP’s health care repeal bill would have on insurance […]

By Alison R. Parker - July 02, 2017
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NBC's Chuck Todd and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price
NBC's Chuck Todd and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

And when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price tried to deceive the public about the impact the GOP’s health care repeal bill would have on insurance premiums, NBC’s Chuck Todd was ready to call him out, and to make sure the viewers heard accurate information, instead of White House spin.

On Meet the Press, Price claimed that the repeal bill would bring down premium costs for all Americans, including senior citizens and middle-aged Americans.

But Todd pointed out that “not a single analysis” — whether from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) or from third party groups — bears that claim out.

He noted that analyses did show potential premium reductions for younger, healthy Americans, but “for older americans with preexisting conditions, these premiums are going to go up.”

When Price tried to deflect that fact by complaining that the CBO and other groups had not looked at “the entire plan” — to which Todd sharply replied that they can only assess legislation they are given, “not future potential future legislation which is yet to be fully introduced.”

PRICE: So, what we’re trying to do is to bring all of those prices down, everybody. Premiums in this nation have doubled over the past four years, up an average of $3,000 for the average family. That’s a tax on everybody. What we want to do is bring all of those prices down so that seniors, young people, folks in middle age, folks who are gaining their coverage by their employer, all of those costs come down.

TODD: But for what it’s worth, not a single analysis — whether it’s Congressional Budget Office or third party groups — has indicated this this bill, either the House version or the Senate version, is somehow going to make premiums come down for older Americans. Every analysis suggests while premiums may come down for younger Americans, that for older Americans with pre-existing conditions, these premiums are going to go up. There is not a single analysis that has said otherwise.

PRICE: And that’s precisely because the Congressional Budget Office, all of these analyses, don’t look at the entire plan. The entire plan includes not just this piece of legislation, which is a significant piece, but it’s not the entire plan. The other pieces of legislation that provide for increase in competition and increase in choices in the insurance market, and then all of the things that we’re doing at the Department of Health and Human Services right now as we speak, to make certain that we’re turning back the tide of all of the rules and regulations that were put in place previously that decreased choices, that increased costs, all of those things. If you look at it in its totality, and nobody is looking at it in its totality, we’ll bring down premiums, we’ll increase coverage, we’ll increase choice, and I believe we’ll increase the quality of care provided to this nation.

TODD: Well, in fairness to the Congressional Budget Office, they can only examine legislation that’s in front of them, not future potential future legislation which is yet to be fully introduced.

Senate Republicans tried to keep their repeal bill a secret for as long as they could. In fact, Price himself had not even seen the bill until very recently.

But it’s out in the open now, and we can all see it for what it truly is: A harsh and dangerous weapon against the poor and vulnerable, and a massive tax break to the wealthy.

The Trump administration will surely continue to mislead and prevaricate about what the bill will do, but the CBO analysis is based in fact, not spin. And members of the press, like Todd, must continue to make sure the public hears the actual truth, not the White House’s preferred version of it.


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