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Trump pick Price on Obamacare repeal: 'Nobody's interested in pulling the rug out from anybody'

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
Al Drago | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Donald Trump's pick to run the nation's health-care department on Wednesday told senators he doesn't want to replace Obamacare with a Republican health-care system, but "an American health-care system."

Rep. Tom Price, R.-Ga., also said that it is "absolutely imperative that individuals who have coverage should be able to keep coverage," referring to the number of Americans who have gained health insurance as a result of Obamacare.

"Nobody's interested in pulling the rug out from anybody," said Price, Trump's nominee for secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. His comments came at a hearing of the Senate Health, Educations, Labor and Pensions Comimttee.

Price, as a member of Congress, previously called for a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a repeal that the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said would lead to 32 million people more becoming uninusred, and a doubling of insurance premiums.

That CBO analysis did not factor in the mitigating effects of any plan, expected from Republicans, to replace elements of Obamacare after a partial repeal.

"I think that for Americans ... the last thing we want to do is go from a Democrat health-care system to a Republican health-care system," Price said. "Our goal is to go from a Democrat health-care system to an American health-care system that would recognize the needs of all."

Trump and Congressional Republicans including Price who last week set the the repeal of Obamacare into motion have not yet introduced a replacement plan for the ACA. Trump last week said a plan would come after Price is confirmed.

Committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., after lamenting spiraling premium prices for Obamacare plans in his home state, said the Affordable Care Act has done damage to Americans, but cautioned against "a quick fix."

"It's about working forward with long-term solutions for everyone," Alexander said.

"We don't believe in replacing a failed Washington, D.C., health-care [plan] without our own health-care plan," Alexander said.