Tom Price: ObamaCare mandate repeal will drive up costs

Tom Price: ObamaCare mandate repeal will drive up costs
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Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Isakson talks up bipartisanship in Senate farewell speech Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia MORE on Tuesday said that the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate would drive up costs, a remark seized on by Democrats.

“That may help, but it still is nibbling at the side,” Price told the World Health Care Congress, according to The Washington Times. “And there are many, and I’m one of them, who believes that that actually will harm the pool in the exchange market, because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently, that drives up the cost for other folks within that market.”

Democrats immediately highlighted the remark from President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE’s own former health secretary and fierce opponent of ObamaCare.

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They say his statement reinforces the argument that Republicans are to blame for coming premium increases in large part due to their repeal in the December tax bill of the mandate that most people obtain health insurance or pay a fine.

"We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves,” Matt House, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications MORE (D-N.Y.), said in email linking to Price’s comments.

Added Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayConservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin MORE (D-Wash.), “I’m glad to see former Secretary Price admit the truth, which is that families’ premiums are going up because President Trump and Republicans in Congress have spiked prices with their relentless, partisan health care sabotage.”

Democrats are hoping to pin the blame for premium increases on Republicans as an important part of their midterm elections message.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that repeal of the mandate will increase premiums by 10 percent as fewer healthy people sign up to balance out the costs of the sick.

Republicans have argued that repealing the mandate removes fines that largely hit low-income people who choose not to buy insurance that they found to be unaffordable.