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Beyer Statement On Secretary Azar’s Premium Gaffe

HHS Secretary’s comment in Senate hearing reveals shocking ignorance of deep pain being inflicted on American families by the Trump Administration’s healthcare sabotage

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Washington, May 11, 2018 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer today issued the following statement on Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar’s testimony that he does not “see the premium effect” of the Trump Administration’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act:

“This comment by Secretary Azar represents the abysmal apathy the Trump Administration shows when it comes to Americans’ healthcare costs,” said Rep. Beyer. “Virginia and our neighbor Maryland are already seeing requests by insurers for massive premium increases which they attribute directly to President Trump’s steps to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The message here is clear: the Trump Administration is raising Americans’ premiums, and they just don’t care.”

During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the HHS budget yesterday, Azar was asked by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) about efforts by the Trump Administration to undermine the healthcare system by removing the individual mandate and allowing states to offer junk healthcare plans. Schatz asked whether Azar agreed with his predecessor, Tom Price, who said last week that these measures would drive up costs for Americans in the individual market.

Azar said that he saw no such “premium effect,” despite the fact that insurers in Virginia pointed to these specific actions as causes of weakening insurance pools as they sought rate hikes of up to 64 percent in the state of Virginia. Maryland officials made similar comments as that state’s insurers also requested major health care premium increases.

See video of the exchange with Secretary Azar here.
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