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NBC & ABC Demand HHS Sec Protect ObamaCare From Trump’s ‘Sabotage’

Posted on 31 July 2017

On Sunday, both NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week were so desperate to protect ObamaCare that the hosts interrogated Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and demanded that he accept the failing law. At the top of Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd warned: “...the President threatens to sabotage ObamaCare....Will President Trump try to push ObamaCare over the edge?”

In a contentious interview with Price minutes later, Todd eagerly cited a Washington Post headline that proclaimed: “It’s not ObamaCare anymore. It’s our national health-care system.” He then turned to the cabinet official and urged: “Do you accept that the attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act as we know it are dead and now your job and the job of Republicans is to make the system work better?”

After Price detailed the numerous ways in which ObamaCare was failing and not helping Americans receive health care, Todd brushed all those facts aside and declared: “You know how to count votes, you know where the votes are. It’s pretty clear a full repeal can’t be done....What is one thing that you want Congress to do right now that’s doable, that’s realistic, that can help you implement the Affordable Care Act better?”

Later in the exchange, Todd pressed:

Do you feel it is your job at HHS to implement the Affordable Care Act as it was meant to be or are you there to – some people think you don’t want to see it work, so that’s why we’ve seen cancelled TV advertising, the attempts to not get people to enroll, the cancelling of contracts that help with enrollment. And so some have accused that you do not want to see it work as it was intended. Can you explain?

The anchor hoped Price would get on board with the Democratic Party agenda and start promoting ObamaCare: “So if they come up with a fix that helps...are you then going to implement the Affordable Care Act as it was meant to be, including encouraging people to sign up, encouraging enrollment, encouraging Medicaid expansion?”

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On This Week, fill-in moderator Martha Raddatz had a similarly aggressive discussion with Price, fearing: “Well, the President also talked repeatedly this week about letting ObamaCare implode. As recently as Friday he was calling for that....Is he going to let it implode, or as he says, do the right thing for the American people?”

She further worried:

HHS has the ability to further destabilize the marketplace by stopping cost-sharing payments to insurers, not enforcing the individual mandate, working internally to undermine it. You have said nobody is interested in sabotaging the system. So are you going to help it implode or try to fix it?

After asking multiple questions on the topic, Raddatz still queried: “Secretary Price, I just want to go back to this – the President saying ‘imploding.’ Is what the President is proposing, letting the existing system fail, putting the needs of patients first?”

The biased interviews were brought to viewers by Boeing, Neutrogena, IBM, and Mercedes.

Here are transcripts of the questions put to Price on the July 30 Sunday shows:

Meet the Press
10:35 AM ET

DONALD TRUMP: Secretary Tom Price is also here. By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, “Tom, you’re fired.”

CHUCK TODD: Joining me now is that Tom, from Atlanta, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price. Secretary Price, welcome back to the show, sir.

TOM PRICE: Hey, Chuck

TODD: I know you still have a job –

PRICE: Thanks, good to be with you.

CHUCK TODD: You still have a job. I assume the President was a little bit tongue in cheek. But let me ask you – let me start there. Ask yourself this, what could you have done differently? I’m sure you’re asking yourself that considering what happened this past week. What could you have done differently to have a different outcome?

(...)

TODD: You know, it’s interesting, there was a headline this morning in The Washington Post that I’m curious if you accept the premise of. And the headline was simple, “It’s not ObamaCare anymore. It’s our national health-care system.” Do you accept that the attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act as we know it are dead and now your job and the job of Republicans is to make the system work better?

(...)

TODD: Look, you were an elected official, you know how politics works. You know how to count votes, you know where the votes are. It’s pretty clear a full repeal can’t be done. It’s pretty clear somehow rescinding the Medicaid expansion, that the support is not there. So what’s realistic? What do you ask Congress to do now? What is one thing that you want Congress to do right now that’s doable, that’s realistic, that can help you implement the Affordable Care Act better?

(...)

TODD: Alright, with all due respect, you gave me an explanation of what you’d like to see but you didn’t give me a specific. And I want to ask you about a specific that the President tweeted about. He said this yesterday, “If a new health care bill is not approved quickly, bailouts for insurance companies and bailouts for members of congress will end very soon.” Now he appears to be referring to these payments that your department has been making monthly. And I know there is some legal questions about whether this has been appropriated by the legislative branch or not. But the insurance companies have said this month to month reimbursement of propping up the insurance markets is creating more uncertainty and they would like to see some yearly – yearly certainty there. Can you say for certain that the, all of these insurance payments are going to be made every single month while the Affordable Care Act is law?

(...)

TODD: Do you feel it is your job at HHS to implement the Affordable Care Act as it was meant to be or are you there to – some people think you don’t want to see it work, so that’s why we’ve seen cancelled TV advertising, the attempts to not get people to enroll, the cancelling of contracts that help with enrollment. And so some have accused that you do not want to see it work as it was intended. Can you explain?

(...)

TODD: But Secretary Price, I understand that, but it’s clear the votes aren’t there. So if they come up with a fix that helps, essentially gives some certainty to the insurance companies to go into rural markets, are you then going to implement the Affordable Care Act as it was meant to be, including encouraging people to sign up, encouraging enrollment, encouraging Medicaid expansion?

(...)

TODD: Alright Secretary Price, I’m gonna have to leave it there, run out of time a little bit. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your views, sir.

PRICE: Thanks, Chuck.


This Week
9:10 AM ET

MARTHA RADDATZ: President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price joins me now. Mr. Secretary, this week, President Trump said you were responsible for the passage of the health care bill. Here’s what he said about you.

DONALD TRUMP: Hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as ObamaCare that’s really hurting us. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, “Tom, you’re fired.” I’ll get somebody.

RADDATZ: Safe to say you still have your job and I know you say it was a joke, but there was message to you there. What could you have done differently? Do you feel you let the President down?

(...)

RADDATZ: Well, the President also talked repeatedly this week about letting ObamaCare implode. As recently as Friday he was calling for that. But this is what he said last February.

TRUMP: From a purely political standpoint, the single best thing we can do is nothing. Let it implode completely. But it’s not the right thing to do for the American people. It’s not the right thing to do.

RADDATZ: So what is it going to be? Is he going to let it implode, or as he says, do the right thing for the American people?

(...)

RADDATZ: This week, he said he was going to let it implode. Is that what he’s going to do?

(...)

RADDATZ: But he says let it – let ObamaCare implode, then deal. What does that mean?...So How’s he going to deal with it?

(...)

RADDATZ: Okay, let’s talk about what you’re gonna do. HHS has the ability to further destabilize the marketplace by stopping cost-sharing payments to insurers, not enforcing the individual mandate, working internally to undermine it. You have said nobody is interested in sabotaging the system. So are you going to help it implode or try to fix it?

(...)

RADDATZ: Secretary Price, I just want to go back to this – the President saying “imploding.” Is what the President is proposing, letting the existing system fail, putting the needs of patients first? I understand your views on ObamaCare.

(...)

RADDATZ: Let’s talk about some specifics. As for insurance subsidies, the President tweeted, “If a new health care bill is not approved quickly, bailouts for insurance companies and bailouts for members of Congress will end very soon.” How soon could HHS stop paying cost-sharing payments to insurers? Next month? Has the President made a decision?

(...)

RADDATZ: Okay, what about the individual mandate? Is the President considering directing one of his agencies not to enforce it? Have you ruled that out?

(...)

RADDATZ: President Trump did sign an executive order allowing HHS to waive the individual mandate. Again, so that’s still an option, right?

(...)

RADDATZ: Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Secretary Price.

PRICE: Thank you, Martha.