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HHS Secretary Price defends GOP healthcare bill, says more people will be covered

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price talks with a guest as they wait for the arrival of Vice President Mike Pence to begin a meeting with conservative groups to discuss healthcare, Friday, March 10, 2017, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Republicans’ campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare is hitting some roadblocks. Members in the GOP are split on the new replacement plan, causing some turmoil within the party.

House Republican leaders and the Trump administration are giving their best sales pitches for the newly unveiled American Health Care Act.

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through, understanding that they’ll have the choices that they can select the kind of coverage that they want for themselves and for their family, not the government forces them to buy,” said Heath and Human Services Secretary Tom Price during an interview on Meet the Press.

The doctor and former Georgia Congressman said the Republican bill will also lower health care costs. However, Democrats are blasting the GOP’s efforts to replace President Obama’s signature healthcare law.

“What the American people want is an improvement on Obamacare not the decimation of Obamacare and throwing so many people off of health insurance and raising premiums substantially,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on Face the Nation.

Under Obamacare, premiums were high because young health adults were not enrolling in the exchange system. In order for the Affordable Care Act to be successful, it needed about 40% of people under the age of 35 to keep premiums down.

“What we're going to do is provide a system that allows you an array of choices so that you can respond and choose the coverage plan that works best for you and your family, not be dictated to by the federal government and have to purchase something that you most likely do not need,” Secretary Price told NBC News’ Chuck Todd.

Despite the bill clearing two house committees last week, it’s still a difficult sell for the Trump administration. Members of the most conservative bloc in the lower chamber, the House Freedom Caucus, oppose House Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill.

“I’m not for this plan, there's a lot of opposition to this plan in the House and the Senate,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.

Those members could derail the bill from passing the House. In an effort to continue negotiations and persuade those skeptical lawmakers, President Trump has invited republican members to the White House for some bowling and pizza.

A Brookings Institute study projects that 15 million people will lose health coverage under the Republican plan. However, Secretary Price says more people will be covered. On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its report on the cost of the Republican replacement bill.

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