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Trump's HHS pick answers questions about Obamacare and his stocks at hearing

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UPDATE 12:07

When asked about the cost of GOP's plan to replace Obamacare, Price said he "hopes" the replacement plan won't add to the national deficit, which will soon reach $20 trillion. 

UPDATE 11:15

Price said he has "no reason to believe" Trump has changed his position on protecting entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from budget cuts. 

Price said he and Trump share the same goal of replacing Obamacare with a new system that will provide insurance for everyone. 


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, pressed Price on whether his "insurance for all" plan would actually provide universal health coverage for all Americans or just accessibility, a term which the GOP has continually used to describe its replacement plans. 

Price said the system will "give everyone the financial feasibility to purchase insurance," without forcing them to purchase insurance through the government. 

Trump's HHS pick answers questions about Obamacare and his stocks at hearing

WATCH | Sanders argues that providing access to healthcare does not guarantee healthcare for all. 

Trump's HHS pick answers questions about Obamacare and his stocks at hearing

WATCH | Price told the committee that his replacement for Obamacare would create "high risk pools" that would allow individuals to group together to purchase insurance. 

Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday signaled that his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare could see states making their own decisions on how to provide insurance for patients. 

When asked by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, about how large a role states would plan in coming up with a replacement plan, Price said "folks at the state level know their populations better than we can know them."

The closer you can have those decisions to the patient, the better.
Tom Price, HHS Secretary nominee

Price also suggested that Obamacare would be replaced piece by piece over time. 

WATCH | Price said the last nobody wants to "pull the rug out" from under anybody when it comes to health insurance coverage. 

Under questioning from Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, Price denied that he had received any insider trading information before purchasing stocks in a medical device company. 

"Everything that we have done has been above-board, transparent, ethical and legal," Price said. 

Trump's HHS pick answers questions about Obamacare and his stocks at hearing

WATCH | Here's the exchange between Price and Murray.

Price also faced questions about investments he made in tobacco. 

Price said he uses a broker and claimed he had "no idea" what stocks he held. 

"I find it hard to believe that you did not know you had tobacco stocks," said Sen. Al Franken, D-New York. 

Franked added that Price's claims that he didn't know what stocks he purchased raised questions about his credulity. 

Trump's HHS pick answers questions about Obamacare and his stocks at hearing

WATCH | Here's the exchange between Franken and Price.

Who is Tom Price? 

The Georgia Republican is a six-term Congressman and a member of the Tea Party. He currently leads the House Budget Committee. 

If confirmed to lead HHS, Price will be in charge of dismantling the Affordable Care Act. Price has already drafted legislation to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare. 

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