Eleven Reasons Why Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary Should Worry Everyone

Just when you think Price can’t get any more disturbing, SURPRISE! Oh, yes he can. Here are eleven highlights. Tell your senators to oppose Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary, unless of course you think that any of the below indicate that he is well suited for the job, in which case I think we should have a talk.

1) His talk of access to healthcare is by no means the same thing as actual coverage. Access means that technically speaking (and particularly if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act), while insurance companies can’t prohibit people from purchasing their plans, they could charge exorbitant premiums if you’re already sick, elderly, or female.

2) Price would require “able-bodied” people to work to receive Medicaid. I’m not even sure where to begin enumerating all the many things wrong with this. One, how are we defining able-bodied? Because this is something that Price notably failed to do. Is someone with an invisible illness, be it physical or mental, able-bodied because they’re not overtly physically impaired? Because let me tell you, if that’s the case, that’s a horrific definition. Or what if you’re a caregiver for an elderly parent or sick child and you’re also ill yourself? I read this particular paragraph in the Washington Post’s article on today’s hearing and my eyes practically popped out of my skull.

3) Price took issue with amount of healthcare spending on different groups being used as the “metric” of care. Conveniently, that would mean that cutting spending on Medicare and Medicaid wouldn’t mean that care for the elderly and low-income folks is suffering. And it would mean that he wouldn’t have to ensure that Office of Minority Health has sufficient funding to function, or that it continues to exist at all because it’s just not about money, but about care. Never mind that it takes money to provide care. Right?

4) On that note, rather than Medicaid being a federal program, Price wants to give each state what’s called a “block grant,” or a lump sum of money, and absolve them from observing numerous federal regulations. And surprise, that would mean that it wouldn’t cover all health services and would permit states to require “able-bodied” candidates to work.

5) When he served in his state Senate, Price advocated for lowering jury awards in cases of medical malpractice. Self-serving, much?

6) Instead of Medicare functioning as an entitlement program, Price has repeatedly attempted to transform it into a program whereby the government gives senior citizens a pre-determined sum and then releases them out into the insurance market to buy their own plan. Raise your hands if you don’t think that sum of money would cover the cost of an insurance plan. And if you’re a senior citizen, what if you can’t navigate the insurance market? You may be unfamiliar with the internet or you may have health problems that would render the process of obtaining insurance and negotiating with insurance companies too burdensome. I don’t like negotiating claims, and I have no excuse.

7) And Price may have broken federal law against insider trading related to his shareholdings in Zimmer Biomet, a medical company. We’ll see how that works out. Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer are pushing for investigations.

8) He voted against the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 and against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

9) Shocker, he’s in favor of abortion restrictions and defunding Planned Parenthood. Isn’t it such a coincidence that increased affordability of birth control under the ACA actually saw a decline in abortions? No, really!

10) Just leaving this 2012 quote regarding women who were unable to afford contraception prior to the Affordable Care Act here. “Bring me one woman who has been left behind,” [Price] said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Bring me one. There’s not one.” I have to break it to him that that’s simply not true.

11) He belongs to a fringe conservative medical association that, among other things, trafficks in HIV/AIDS denialism, arguments that abortion causes breast cancer, conspiracies that President Obama won via hypnosis(that is apparently most effective among young people, educated people, and Jews), beliefs that doctors are basically gods who should be controlled neither by governmental regulations nor by “evidence-based guidelines,” and of course anti-vaccination rhetoric.

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