White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday struggled to explain why President Donald Trump was considering cutting regulations on essential health benefits like maternity care.
To lure conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, President Donald Trump has reportedly said he is willing to cut the “essential health benefits” that each insurer is required to provide as part of the Affordable Care Act.
At Thursday’s press briefing, Spicer was asked about how cutting maternity benefits care fulfilled Trump’s campaign promise to provide better care for expecting and new mothers.
“I don’t want to get into a benefit-by-benefit discussion here,” Spicer told reporters. “But the reason that premiums have spiked out of control is because under Obamacare there were these mandated services that had to be included.”
While Spicer seemed keen to avoid discussing specific benefits, CNN quickly put up a split-screen graphic with an overview of the benefits people could expect to lose: mental health, prescriptions, emergency services, hospitalization, rehabilitation, labs, preventative care, pediatric services and ambulatory services.
According to Spicer, “older men, older women” who had “gotten passed maternity age” were being forced to pay for maternity care, driving up the overall cost of insurance.
“People who were at the younger end of the age scale were buying end-of-life benefits,” he added. “This goes back to the nut of this discussion, which is we have now gone down to a system where in one-third of all counties, there is one choice. And it’s the potpourri of mandated benefits that everyone has to have. We’ve lost consumer choice.”
One reporter wondered if loosening regulations would create a situation where women are “de facto paying higher for health insurance.”
“No, you could have a family plan,” Spicer replied. “Again, you’re picking one benefit and trying to extrapolate it. It’s also saying, should young people have to pay for end-of-life care? The idea is to instill choice into the market.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast March 23, 2017.