News Releases


In response to Senator Murray’s questions, Secretary Price refuses to stand by comments that House Trumpcare bill was “a victory for the American people”  

Senator Murray: “It’s very clear you’re not going to stand by your comments or the President’s, but it’s pretty clear to me that there’s been a change since the House bill passed on this Administration’s support” 

Despite celebrating with House Republicans after their Trumpcare bill passed, President Trump has now called the bill “mean”

Washington, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee overseeing health care, questioned Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price on whether or not he still supports Trumpcare after President Trump rejected health care legislation he previously championed as “mean.” Despite Senator Murray’s repeated efforts to get a direct answer, Secretary Price refused to stand by his statement that the House Trumpcare bill was “a victory for the American people,” and would not say whether he agreed with President Trump’s comment that the bill was “mean.”   

Full transcript of Senator Murray’s exchange with Secretary Price and his refusal to commit to support Trumpcare:

Senator Murray: Secretary Price, when the House of Representatives passed their Trumpcare bill you put out a statement saying the bill was—and I quote “a victory for the American people.’ You joined President Trump in a big Rose Garden victory lap—there’s lots of laughing and backslapping and you went on the Sunday shows days later and said the Trumpcare bill that passed the House would “make certain that every single American, men, women, rich, poor, old, young, have the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their families.” You defended the increases in costs that seniors would be forced to pay. You defended the Medicaid cuts in the House Trumpcare bill. You said that Medicaid patients would be cared for in “a better way under it.” You were one of the biggest cheerleaders for the House Bill and you put your credibility on the line when you told people across the country that the House Trumpcare bill was a good bill, a bill that would help them, and a bill that they should support. So Secretary Price I wanted to ask you, do you still stand by those comments?

Secretary Price: Senator, I appreciate the question. I think what I stand by is the fact that the current system is not working for millions of Americans.

Murray: Well no. I’m asking you specifically. That was not my question. Do you stand by your comments?

Price: I would respectfully disagree with the characterization of the comments that you made.

Murray: I was quoting you. Do you stand by the quotes that you made?

Price: As I say I would disagree with the characterization that you brought forward.

Murray: Well it’s a yes or no. I’m quoting you. Do you still stand by your quotes?

Price: No. It’s not a yes or no answer.

Murray: Well I’m disappointed, but I have to say I’m not surprised you won’t give me a straight answer. You said those things. You should feel confident to either own them or admit you were wrong.

Price: I stand by what I said in the context with which I said them.

Murray: Well this week it is now reported that President Trump changed his tune on the House bill. He is telling senators that he, “thinks its mean” and he wants the Senate to make it more generous. So Secretary Price, you are Trump’s top healthcare advisor. Do you agree that the House Trumpcare Bill is “mean?

Price: Again, I think what we need to be talking about in terms of a health system is the constellation of reforms.

Murray: Yes or no? Yes or no answer.

Price: No, it’s not a yes or no answer.

Murray: Well it is.

Price: It’s a constellation of reforms that need to be put in place because there are millions of Americans right now who are unable to gain the kind of coverage that they want. They are paying higher premiums, higher deductibles, they’ve got insurance coverage, but they don’t provide any care because of that coverage.

Murray: Well Mr. Secretary, it’s very clear that you’re not going to stand by your comments or by the President’s. It’s pretty clear to me that there’s been a change since the House bill passed on this administration’s support that the President is right and I hope that I’ll see his top health advisor, you take that back. Let me ask you another really critical question. Since taking office, this administration has done everything in its power to sabotage our healthcare system. Deliberately putting millions of Americans at risk for partisan purposes. It is no secret that the administration’s actions are the primary reason that insurers are spiking premiums or leaving the market. Industry experts and insurers across the nation have been clear, your threats to end the costs to sharing subsidies and appeal the ACA are creating too much uncertainty in the market.

So, I want to be very clear. You break it, you own it. We would much rather—I want you to know this—We would much rather work with you to continue fixing the healthcare system for families. I am disappointed that this Administration is sabotaging our healthcare system as a tactic to jam a partisan bill through Congress and you’re going to be held accountable. In fact, Senator Warren and I wrote a letter in which I would like to include in the record requesting that the Inspector General conduct a thorough investigation into how the Trump Administration’s actions have undermined the health care system, risking access to health insurance and higher premiums for middle [class] Americans. Secretary Price, I want to ask you to day, will you commit that you and your department will cooperate with the OIG in a timely and transparent fashion?

Price: Senator, we look forward to working with you to make the health care system better. At our Department, we’ll follow the law. We look forward to cooperating with any IG investigation or inquiries that they make.

Murray: Okay, I appreciate that. The bottom line is that this administration’s effort to undermine families’ access to health insurance either deliberately or through a stunning incompetence is overwhelmingly clear. And again I would say, Democrats across the board are willing to work with Republicans to make sure that the healthcare system works better, more affordable, more accessible, but we do not want to see it undermined and we don’t want to see [Trumpcare] jammed through, a mean bill that is celebrated in the White House. Thank you.