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Former HHS Secretary Tom Price: Individual mandate repeal 'drives up costs' in ACA market

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that repeal would increase premiums by 10 percent.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Credit: CNNCredit: CNN

The repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act will drive up costs for consumers who continue to stay in ACA plans, former secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price reportedly said Tuesday before the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C.

"That may help, but it still is nibbling at the side," Price said of repealing the mandate, 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."

Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted Tuesday: "I don't agree with former @HHSgov Secretary Tom Price very often, but it's good to know he's willing to state the facts as they are: the #GOPTaxScam will raise the cost of healthcare for American families."

Insurers have long said that ending the individual mandate would destabilize the ACA market and raise premiums because it would leave sicker, higher risk individuals in exchange plans.

[Update: Evidence keeps mounting that Affordable Care Act's individual mandate was a success]

Republicans included in their recent tax bill an end to the individual mandate starting in December 2019.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that repeal would increase premiums by 10 percent.

During his tenure as HHS secretary, Price followed the Trump Administration's position to abolish President Obama's healthcare law.

In July 2017, Price lashed out against the ACA in a series of tweets that said the law slowed business and job growth as individual plan premiums had risen in the exchanges. He maintained that the individual mandate wasn't working as people would rather pay the fines than get insurance coverage.

That same month he told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that he would not rule out the possibility of using his authority to waive the ACA's individual mandate, according to HuffPost.

Price resigned in September 2017 after criticism mounted for his $1 million in taxpayer paid private, chartered flights for business travel.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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