Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney: Insurance coverage isn't "the end goal" of health care reform

The goal, Mulvaney and Paul Ryan agree, is first to just get rid of what exists

By Matthew Rozsa
Published March 8, 2017 5:22PM (EST)

Considering that Mick Mulvaney, the former congressman appointed by President Donald Trump as director of the Office of Management and Budget, has a long history of opposing Medicare, it is perhaps unsurprising that he's arguing against the notion that a replacement for the Affordable Care Act should be judged on the number of people it insures.

"We’re looking at it in a different way, Mark, because insurance is not really the end goal here, is it?" Mulvaney told Mark Halperin on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It's one of the conservatives' – one of the Republicans' complaints about the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning: It was a great way to get insurance and a lousy way to actually be able to go to the doctor."

Mulvaney added: "So we’re choosing instead to look at what we think is more important to ordinary people: Can they afford to go to the doctor? And we are convinced it will be possible for more people to get better care at the doctor under this this plan than it was under Obamacare."

Mulvaney's comments put him in contradiction with his own president, who told The Washington Post in January that the goal was "insurance for everybody  . . . Much less expensive and much better," a view that was later shared by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.


Later on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a press conference in which he praised the American Health Care Act as a bill that "keeps our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare." He later added, "This is the culmination of a years-long, inclusive process that we’ve been doing here for years."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Affordable Care Act American Health Care Act Donald Trump Health Care Mick Mulvaney Paul Ryan