US health chief ‘in a receiving mode’ on health bill ideas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — President Donald Trump‘s administration is “fully in a receiving mode” for suggestions to improve a push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, his health chief told a room of health professionals Tuesday in Nashville.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s speech came as Trump declared from Washington that he’s sure the Senate will get a health care bill “across the finish line” this summer. However, it’s uncertain whether that chamber’s Republican leadership can muster enough votes to pass a bill.

Price blamed Washington and the media amid inaction on health care reform.

“Many in Washington and the media look at the immense health crises that we have facing Tennessee and the country today and they say, ‘we can’t afford to change our nation’s health care policies at a time like this,'” Price said at the event by Healthy Tennessee and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “Well, let me suggest to you that we can’t afford not to change our health care policies at a time like this.”

Several wary Republican senators point to a Congressional Budget Office analysis projecting that the House-approved bill would cause 23 million Americans to lose coverage by 2026 and create prohibitively expensive costs for many others.

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters Tuesday that “doing nothing is not an option.” The Senate is heading toward a vote on a health care bill before the Fourth of July.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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