Health care: No matter ruling, Price says law should "come down"
Dr. Tom Price, The Chairman of the Republican House Policy Committee, will be in the courtroom for Thursday's Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act - but he says that no matter what the Court decides, the law needs to be thrown out.
"The fact of the matter is that in the real world, where doctors treat patients, not a whole lot has changed and there are a lot of challenges that remain," Price told CBS's Nancy Cordes in an interview for Face to Face.
The fact that many provisions of the Act have yet to be implemented doesn't change the Congressman's stance.
"It doesn't work for patients, it clearly doesn't work for physicians who are -- many of my former colleagues -- leaving the practice of medicine because of what they see coming. It certainly doesn't' work for employers who are trying to figure out how they're going to pay for employees' health coverage and finding out they aren't going to be able to. It doesn't work for states. You've got state after state asking for waivers on the Medicaid portion of this law. And it certainly doesn't work for the federal government because the money doesn't add up. The nation can't afford what the President put in place. That doesn't mean there aren't solutions, because there are wonderful solutions that respect patients, respect physicians, and make it so we put in place patient-centered reforms which are patients and families and doctors making medical decisions," he said.
Price says the House Republicans will move to repeal whatever parts of the law survive scrutiny from the Court.
"The American people don't want Washington in charge of health care. And that's what this bill does. So we believe the whole thing has to come down. We have to repeal the entire law and move forward with those positive solutions to get folks covered, to address the costs in health care which weren't addressed in this legislation, to make certain that we have the highest quality care in the world, which we are losing as we speak, and to make sure that patient choices are respected. There are wonderful ways to do that without putting Washington in charge of our health care," he told Cordes during Wednesday's interview.
While Democrat lawmakers praise the consumer protections put in place by this health care legislation - particularly the ban on insurance companies denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions - Price told Cordes that nothing in the law is worth keeping.
"The principles are violated for everything that we hold dear in health care with this law. It increases costs, so it decreases affordability. It decreases accessibility. It makes it a bit more difficult for individuals to gain health coverage that they want. It decreases quality because of the rules and the regulatory scheme, and it decreases choices. So if you're looking at the principles of health care, they are violated by this law. Which again, is why the whole thing needs to be repealed," he said.
When asked specifically about the provision allowing young Americans under the age of 26 to stay on their parent's insurance plans, Price said there are bigger issues that need to be addressed.
"Whether it's a 26-year-old or 25-year-old on their parents' coverage, people haven't been asking this question: what do you do when the parent loses their job and they don't have health coverage? Where's that child go? That adult child? That means three people aren't covered as opposed to just one. That's why we need fundamental reforms that respect the principles of health care - accessibility, affordability, quality and choices."
The most controversial element of the law is the individual mandate, a requirement that every American have health insurance. Republicans have called the mandate an assault on individual liberty, but their Democratic colleagues argue that the GOP supported the theoretical concept of a mandate for decades.
Cordes asked Price why his party is now opposed to the idea.
"What changed was that this is the first time in the nation's history that the federal government has said, by virtue of being a United States citizen, you must buy a product and this is what it must be," said Congressman Price, now in his sixth term in the House of Representatives.
Republicans, in his estimation, had been proposing a very different kind of mandate. "What was being proposed is what many states do that says you have to have health coverage. You have to have it. You pick it for yourself and for your family. Not the specific items within it. So for example you could pick a closed panel HMO, you could pick a PPO, you could pick a Health Savings Account, or a flexible savings account, or you could self-insure. Those kinds of things. Instead what the president and the Democrats did is say you've got to buy coverage and this is exactly what it must be so that everything else becomes essentially illegal in this country. That's where the constitutional challenge is," he told Cordes.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.