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 PriceWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Former Georgia ethics official to challenge McBath A proposal to tackle congressional inside trading: Invest in the US 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 TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled 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 SchumerChuck SchumerSenators weigh future of methane fee in spending bill Biden hopes for deal on economic agenda before Europe trip The Senate is setting a dangerous precedent with Iron Dome funding MORE (D-N.Y.), said in email linking to Price’s comments.

Added Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades 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.