Opponent of Medicaid, Medicare sworn in as Health and Human Services secretary

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Opponent of Medicaid, Medicare sworn in as Health and Human Services secretary

By
Kate Randall

11 February 2017

Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, was sworn in Friday as secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Senate confirmed Donald Trump’s pick for the cabinet post by a 52 to 47 vote early Friday morning along party lines. Price had served in the US House as Representative of Georgia’s 6th District since 2005.

Price, 62, a retired orthopedic surgeon from the Atlanta suburbs, is a staunch opponent of Medicare and Medicaid, programs that insure more than 100 million Americans. As HHS secretary, he will lead Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with as yet to be unveiled Republican legislation.

In his confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee last month, Price refused to go on record with his right-wing views on health care policy, repeatedly refusing to answer “yes” or “no” to questions from committee Democrats on whether he supported block-granting of Medicaid, privatization of Medicare, or overturning ACA guarantees of insurance coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

The program popularly known as Obamacare, while providing modest government subsidies and guaranteeing certain “essential” services, was implemented for the purpose of slashing health care costs for corporations and the government and shifting cost burdens onto the working class. It requires uninsured individuals to purchase coverage from private insurers under threat of tax penalty.

Democrats aimed much of their fire on Price for his “bad judgment” in actively trading shares of medical and pharmaceutical companies while he was shaping health policy in Congress. They had little to offer in resistance to his…

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