Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar avoided telling Congress on Tuesday what he thought of the Trump Administration's undercutting protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, though he did say that he wants to preserve coverage.
Justice Department attorneys told a Federal District Court in Texas in a legal brief last week that they would not defend the Affordable Care Act in a suit brought by Texas and 19 other states with Republican leaders.
Azar, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, described the administration's argument as "a constitutional and legal position, not a policy position," when asked if he agreed with the brief, according to The Washington Post.
Although the hearing was mainly on President Donald Trump's plan to lower drug prices, Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., described those efforts as "some kind of sick joke," considering the fact that many people with pre-existing conditions will become unable to afford their medication due to the administration's decision.
"Will you encourage the Trump administration to change its position?" Hassan asked.
Azar said that "we do believe in finding solutions on the matter of preexisting conditions and the matter of affordability, regardless of the litigation."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., also pressed Azar on Trump's statement last month that drug companies would "announce voluntary, massive drops in prices" within the following two weeks.
"That would be tomorrow," Warren pointed out.
Azar listed various drug manufacturers who "want" to lower prices, but said they are "encountering hurdles."
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