Didn't have time to sit through the two hearings yesterday where Price testified on the HHS budget? Here are the main takeaways (and you can read David's wrap-up here):
Price is relentlessly on message. His answers to most criticisms of the GOP health care bill and President Trump's budget were the same: The ACA is broken, and greater competition and choice are the answer.
He's not giving up on "insurance for everybody." "We want to gain 100 percent coverage for individuals, but the only way you do that is to allow them to select the coverage that they want," he said at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
Look at the whole package. Price is sticking to his script on why he doesn't believe the CBO estimates: They're not looking at the entire plan for replacing the ACA. (But Price himself also can't talk about "Phase 2" — the regulatory side — in advance, and "Phase 3" includes bills that may never get 60 votes in the Senate.)
He's not comfortable with deeper Medicaid cuts. Price made that clear at the Senate Finance Committee hearing, when Republican Sen. Dean Heller asked him if he'd support a slower Medicaid spending growth rate than the rate the House bill uses. (Heller doesn't want a slower growth rate either, but some of the conservative GOP senators do.)
He can't answer insurer payment questions. Over and over, Price dodged questions about whether the Trump administration will keep making the ACA cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers. He said he can't comment because of the ongoing lawsuit, but of course Trump may not want to continue them, either.
Senate Republicans are in for a lot more trouble. If Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's eruption at Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch is any indication, GOP senators are going to get a lot of heat for not writing their health care bill in a more open way.