6 things to know about Tom Price, Trump’s secretary of health and human services pick
President-elect Donald Trump is working hard to fill out out his cabinet (or so he says), and while he teases us with the secretary of state position, Trump chose Tom Price as head of Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s likely that you’ve never heard of him, but Price has been Georgia’s representative for six years. He’s also crazy opposed to the Affordable Care Act, so his nomination is a big move from the Trump team to show that they’re serious about gutting Obama’s healthcare plan. Slow clap all around.
The good news is that he’s not Ben Carson (who was rumored to be up for the gig), or openly a white supremacist like other member’s of the Trump administration, so I guess there’s that.
The bad news? He’s dangerous. He wasn’t just a representative; he was a founding member of the Tea Party, the little GOP faction that thinks Michelle Bachman makes sense and that the legislature shouldn’t pass any policy a black president suggests. Price, who was an orthopedic surgeon before he got into politics, thinks the government should stay out of healthcare and basically everything else, so be prepared for major budget cuts and reforms.
Here are some other things you should know about him.
He’s ready to gut Obamacare and Medicaid
OK, Obamacare is certainly not perfect, but Trump’s team obviously plans on getting rid of it. Price has an “Empowering Patients First Act” that would not only get rid of Obamacare but also Medicaid. This is a great one: it would reduce aid going to people buying private insurance and allow insurance companies to do some of the sneaky, shitty things Obamacare prohibits, like selling “bare bones” plans and denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. People would still get “tax credits” but they wouldn’t be connected to comprehensive coverage.
He voted against abortion six times in one year
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that putting Price in charge of HHS is “akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house.” He added, “Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood.” He has a ZERO rating from Planned Parenthood and co-sponsored the Right to Life Act, which would have given legal rights to a “pre-born” person at the moment of conception. He’s called abortion “barbaric.” As a member of the budget committee, he’s also voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
He thinks all women can afford birth control
This is the most terrifying (if I had to choose). In 2012, he said that “there’s not one woman” who didn’t have access to birth control. “Bring me one. There’s not one,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, this is a trampling of religious freedom and religious liberty in this country.” Apparently, women having a choice and access to affordable contraception is trampling his rights. Also, research shows that one in three women struggle to afford birth control, so I guess science isn’t his thing either.
He wants to make it harder to sue a doctor
Price has introduced legislation to make it easier for doctors to defend themselves in malpractice suits, which means regular people would have less rights and fewer ways to speak up and tell a doctor they screwed up. Civil lawsuits are the one and only way for people to stand up for their rights, but Price would rather protect doctors who do wrong.
He’s not a fan of LGBTQ people either
As a Tea Party republican, he’s opposed to gay marriage. When everyone was out celebrating love when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, Price called it a “sad day.” What’s also scary is that his rollback of Medicaid would mean states not getting money for their ADAP programs, which provide HIV-positive patients with medicine and healthcare.
Matt Kavanaugh, with the Global Health Access Project, told PBS Newshour, “One of the most important things that happened with Medicaid expansion is that people were able to move off of ADAP and not just get HIV drugs but full [health] insurance. If that rolls back, it’s likely we will see huge problems with ADAP.” So all the work done to control HIV in the United States could be for naught.
He really wants people to have guns
Price has sponsored legislation to get rid of gun registration. Like, no lists of gun owners at all. As head of HHS, he’d be in charge of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control as well, organizations that should be doing more research into gun violence, but probably won’t under Price.
Tom Price is a terrible choice for Health and Human Services, unless you’re a doctor, an insurance company, or Trump apparently.