• Text Resize A A A
  • Print Print
  • Share Share on facebook Share on twitter Share
June 22, 2017
Contact: HHS Press Office
[email protected]

Readout of Secretary Price’s Healthcare Listening Session with Individuals Facing Lack of Coverage

Yesterday, at the White House, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., hosted a listening session with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to hear from individuals who are facing a lack of choice in healthcare plans due to insurers pulling out of Obamacare marketplaces.

Secretary Price opened the meeting by welcoming participants from Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio to the White House. He thanked them for sharing their stories and thanked President Trump for his focus on fixing healthcare in America. Administrator Verma, Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, and Assistant to the President, Omarosa Manigault, all voiced their and the President’s commitment to put in place a healthcare system that offers real, affordable choices to the American people.

“The individual small group markets, as you well know, where Americans buy insurance for themselves, the premiums and deductibles are increasing significantly and pricing folks really out of the market,” said Secretary Price.A lot of people have an insurance card, but they don’t have any care because of the prices for deductibles. This challenge is an inherent challenge that exists because of the flaws within Obamacare, within the ACA. It’s not because of something else going on out there. It’s because of the structural flaws. And even with these higher prices, and the changes that have been put in place, insurers continue to flee the market. They continue to leave some coverage opportunities and get less and less. It’s happening all across the country, particularly in the states where you all are from.”

Secretary Price noted that premiums have risen 86% in Ohio, 145% in Missouri, and 110% in Iowa since Obamacare was implemented and that these states have had major insurer exits and almost non-existent choices. Many individual participants told real-life stories of how these factors have negatively impacted themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities.

“The fact of the matter is that all those numbers reflect real people,” said Secretary Price. “This is about real folks; this is about real people’s lives. And the stories that we’ve heard at this table and around the country have been remarkably moving. I appreciate you participating and coming today to share your stories. At the Health and Human Services Department, the department that I’m privilege to lead, we are going through every single rule and every single regulation that was promulgated pursing the previous law. To make certain we determine whether it helps patients or harms patients? Does it cost more or does it cost less? And we’re going to make certain that we move those in the right direction. Which is helping patients and driving down costs.”

Around the table, many expressed their concerns that because of Obamacare, more insurers would exit their markets, leaving them with no choices in bare counties or only one choice for health insurance. This was particularly of concern to the individual participants who have pre-existing conditions. Secretary Price noted that in his joint address to Congress, President Trump committed to ensuring those Americans with pre-existing conditions continue to have access to coverage and that we need a system with choices to ensure patients have the care that is most responsive to their needs, not that Washington forces them to buy.

Many individual participants also told stories about how many insurers have exited their marketplaces and left only one choice for coverage.  They told the Secretary that just because they have an option for coverage, they cannot afford the one “choice.” Secretary Price thanked the participants for coming to Washington, D.C. to share their stories and reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to reduce Obamacare’s burdens by providing the American people with the highest quality healthcare system.

The following individuals participated:

  • Dr. Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President
  • George Sifakis, Assistant to the President, Office of Public Liaison
  • Omarosa Manigault, Assistant to the President, Office of Public Liaison
  • George Sifakis, Assistant to the President, Office of Public Liaison
  • Jim Blundell, Lincoln, MO - Retired
  • Candace Fowler, Henry County, MO - Homemaker, Farmer
  • Steve Gaswint, Nashport, OH -President, Black Run Transmissions, Inc.
  • Dr. Douglas Lake, Ames, IA - Radiologist
  • Stephanie McClain, Clinton, MO - Insurance Agent
  • Tommie McClain, Clinton, MO - Student
  • Nancy Nycum, Edwards, MO - Retired cattle rancher and small business owner
  • Kevin Walker, Sedalia, MO - Photographer and Recreational Assistant
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
Like HHS on Facebook, follow HHS on Twitter @HHSgov, and sign up for HHS Email Updates.
Last revised: June 22, 2017

Subscribe to RSS

Receive latest updates

Subscribe to our RSS