Tom Price points to smaller stack of paper to prove new healthcare bill is better than Obamacare

Rachael Revesz

Tom Price had one physical piece of evidence to prove that the new Republican health care bill would be more effective than the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services pointed to the table beside him, on which Obamacare’s bill was printed out beside the new bill. The former Act was much larger than the new bill.

“Notice how thick that is?" Mr Price asked. "Some of you will recall I actually turned the pages and went through that piece of legislation in a YouTube."

The paper stunt had echoes of Donald Trump’s last press conference before his Inauguration, where he pointed to stacks of paper to prove he had taken a step back from his business empire. The papers were later discovered to be blank.

Mr Price, who had been wheeled out by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, explained that the new age-based tax credit system would “equalize” the tax system for those gaining coverage through their employer and those who did not.

He said the bill “was about patients. This is not about money. This is not about something else. It’s about patients.”

Mr Spicer said the plan was 66 pages long, with more than 50 additional pages dedicated to the repealing part. He said the Obamacare report was over 900 pages which had "devastating" consequences.

“For all of the people who have concerns about this ... look at the size," he said.

Their remarks came shortly after the Republicans revealed two new measures to repeal and replace Obamacare, which has been branded as “Obamacare-lite” by Republican Senator Rand Paul.

It eliminates the fine for those who do not purchase healthcare coverage, but it maintains medicaid until 2020. Mr Trump said it would be rolled out in phases.


Mr Price dodged a question about House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s comment that low-income Americans would have to choose between the new iPhone and investing in their healthcare.

He also avoided a question as to whether the new bill was the administration's bill. He replied that it was "the starting point".

He was then pushed on whether the new plan would ensure coverage for the millions of under-served Americans who benefited from insurance under the previous administration. He responded that the system for vulnerable people was “broken”.

“There's accountability throughout the plan we have to allow the Department of Health to be certain that individuals that need to be cared for are being cared for, at the right level,” he said.

The bill was locked away and guarded by police at Capitol Hill until it was unveiled on Monday.

Republicans have long disagreed on how to replace former President Obama’s Act, but have maintained that Mr Obama’s plan meant that premiums and deductibles were rising to unaffordable levels and eliminating competition in states.

It provided coverage for at least 20 million Americans, however, who gained healthcare access under President Obama who did not have coverage previously.

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