The Senate confirmed Representative Tom Price to be the secretary of Health and Human Services early Friday morning by a vote of 52 to 47.
Price is an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2004. As President Donald Trump’s HHS secretary, he’d be charged with coordinating Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. ~ Washington Post
Like many of Trump’s cabinet nominations, this one was heavily debated.
Republicans believe that Rep. Tom Price is one of the most capable individuals Trump could have selected, based on his career as an orthopedic surgeon.
“Who better than a doctor to head an organization that covers the wide variety of major health care programs?” Senator Enzi of Wyoming asked.
Democrats fear that Price will dismantle Medicare and Medicaid.
US Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) voted against the nomination of Congressman Tom Price for the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The 52-to-47 Senate vote that confirmed Rep. Tom Price as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services went along party lines.
Sen. Donnelly said he had concerns about Price’s commitment to repealing the health care law and privatizing Medicare.
“Rather than working together to improve our health care system, many of the policies championed by Congressman Tom Price would take health care away from Hoosiers families and seniors. Congressman Tom Price has said, time and again, that he wants to repeal the health care law, and he is the architect of a plan to privatize Medicare. I take him at his word and believe that is what he will work to do. I will fight to make sure Hoosier seniors receive the Medicare benefits they’ve earned and that families continue to have access to health care, including through HIP 2.0,” said Donnelly.
In 2015, Price proposed a plan that gave people tax credits to purchase insurance on the private market. His plan would also include health savings accounts and would provide federal funds to states to create high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions.
While Price’s plan may not be passed as is, he will have significant influence over whatever plan is passed. He will basically be responsible for implementing a replacement plan for Obamacare.
At Senate hearings on Price’s nomination, Democrats have focused on the former orthopedic surgeon’s considerable stock holdings, especially in health care industry companies. They’ve accused him of conflicts of interest by acquiring those shares, pushing legislation that could benefit those companies and making investments using insider information. ~ CBS News
According to USA Today, Price often misstated the timing of stock purchases or failed to report them altogether.
In addition, USA TODAY reported last week that Price bought $15,000 worth of stock in the health care company McKesson and soon after sponsored different legislation that would benefit the company, its clients and others involved in the durable medical equipment industry.
That put Price at risk of violating the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge(STOCK) Act, which was designed to keep members of Congress and their staffs from using information they have through their jobs to make money in the stock market.
A letter was sent to Senate leaders requesting that they delay Price’s nomination until the SEC can investigate whether he is guilty of insider trading or not.
“This is something the voters should be concerned about,” says John Pudner, a conservative Republican who runs Take Back Our Republic, an advocacy group trying to get money out of politics.
This is one of several of Trump’s nominations that goes directly against his promise to leave Social Security and Medicare alone.