Donald Trump and his pick to lead the Obamacare repeal effort, Rep. Tom Price, share a vision that the current health care system needs to be completely uprooted.
But the two men have articulated wildly divergent visions for what comes next — and that’s making it hard for Hill Republicans to figure out where to start on a coherent replacement plan once Obamacare is gone.
Over the weekend, Trump said he wants to substantially expand coverage once Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary — “insurance for everybody” as he put it to the Washington Post. But as a House member and former chairman of the House Budget Committee, the Georgia Republican wrote one of the most conservative visions for health care, although his plan never included universal coverage as a stated goal.
Congressional Republicans are caught in between, racing to repeal Obamacare while receiving mixed signals from the incoming administration about what will replace it. Several key Republicans have already indicated Price’s approach won’t undergird the legislative process.
Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) stopped to greet Price warmly late last week, then said in an interview that Price’s bills from last Congress aren’t indicative of where Republicans are at.