Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Friday said he expects the Senate to pass its version of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare by August.
“I do,” Price told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday morning. “I believe the Senate will produce a bill this summer.” Asked if he anticipates the chamber voting on such legislation before the month-long August recess, Price said, “I believe so.”
Price’s assurances give a strong indication of when the Trump administration expects the Senate to pass health care reform. The White House last week advised critics not to underestimate President Donald Trump — suggesting it expects the measure to pass eventually — but would not commit to dictating a timeline to the Senate.
“The president’s focused on getting it right, not getting it fast,” deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last Friday. “We’re taking the appropriate steps to make sure that the American people get the health care system that they deserve, and that’s the president’s commitment, not an artificial timeline.”
The House last week narrowly passed its Obamacare repeal legislation, the American Health Care Act, with unanimous opposition from Democrats and 20 Republicans voting against the measure, which nevertheless heads to the Senate.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said this week that “the legislation should not take that long,” predicting passage in the Senate “hopefully” within “a month or two.”
The upper chamber is expected to write its own version of the bill rather than take up the House’s plan, which advanced without a revised score from the Congressional Budget Office. CBO projected 24 million fewer Americans would be insured under the original version of the House bill, but the Senate is unlikely to move forward without a new score. A CBO spokeswoman announced this week that the revised score will likely be released “early in the week of May 22.”
“Leader McConnell is absolutely committed to getting a bill out of the Senate,” Price said, “and we will continue to work with the leader and all the other senators who are interested, as I say, in working toward a positive, productive outcome.”