Trump health chief: ‘Not a need’ for ObamaCare replacement plan right now
Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Tuesday that “there’s really not a need” for the Trump administration to put forward an ObamaCare replacement plan at the moment.
Azar was asked where the administration’s replacement for the health law is in an interview on the “Kevin Wall Radio Show.” He replied that there is not a need for one until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on a GOP-backed lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.
“There’s really not a need for a replacement of the Affordable Care Act unless and until there’s a final Supreme Court decision,” Azar said, adding that would be “some time away.” The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to expedite the case, meaning it will not be decided until after the 2020 election.
He also added that the administration could need a replacement if Republicans win back the House in this year’s election but noted that the current Democratic-led House has no interest in repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
“I can assure you that’s not on [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s [D-Calif.] agenda,” Azar said, adding that “it’s not a material thing right now.”
Democrats, though, have attacked the Trump administration for backing the lawsuit seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, which extended coverage to roughly 20 million people, without putting forward a plan to replace it.
“Our fight to protect over 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is not over, and we should keep asking Republicans throughout 2020 what their plan is if this lawsuit is successful,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement earlier Tuesday after the Supreme Court declined to expedite the case.
Azar’s comments stand in contrast to what President Trump said in an interview with ABC News in June.
“We’ll be announcing that in about two months,” Trump said at the time when asked about an ObamaCare replacement plan.
Azar said the administration is focused on other areas of health care, such as lowering drug prices, not just the Affordable Care Act, which he called a relatively small section of the health care universe.
“We’re spending way too much time talking about it,” Azar said.
“If the stars ever align to look at it, of course we’ve got ideas,” he added.
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