Health and Science

GOP health bill does have one 'good idea,' ex-Obama HHS Secretary Sebelius admits

AHCA is freedom for insurance companies, not individuals: Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, told CNBC on Thursday she's basically against everything in the Republican plan to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare.

But in a "Squawk on the Street" interview, ahead of the scheduled evening House vote on the GOP health-care bill, Sebelius did single out one provision as a positive.

"The stability fund — that is basically the risk pool that they [Republicans] refused to fund in the Affordable Care Act — I think it's a good idea," she admitted. "Stabilizing a very young market makes a lot of sense and encourages more companies to play in the market."

The "stability fund" Sebelius refers to is the proposed 10-year, $100 billion Patient and State Stability Fund contained in the House GOP's American Health Care Act.

The House vote is seen as a major test for President Donald Trump's agenda because he's said the Obamacare replacement needs to happen before other priorities such as tax cuts for individuals and corporations.

Trump met Thursday with the House Freedom Caucus to try to get the conservative group to drop its opposition. GOP leaders offered a tweak of their plan Wednesday night to include getting rid of the set of minimum benefits required of insurers.

Sebelius said Obamacare certainly needs some improvements, but should not be thrown out completely. If able to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, she said she would try to lower drug costs and out-of-pocket expenses for consumers.

"There's [also] too big a cliff between those who get some subsidies — have the government pay a portion of their plan — and those who don't," she added.

The current Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, strongly defended GOP health-care bill Wednesday night on CNN. "We believe strongly, strongly, that the plan we put together is so much better than the one that's there now." The former congressman from Georgia and orthopedic surgeon has been a longtime crusader against Obamacare.