Tom Price, Secretary of Health & Human Services

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Born in Lansing and raised in Dearborn, he graduated from the University of Michigan. He studied medicine in Atlanta. After practicing for 20 years in the Atlanta suburbs, he joined the Georgia state senate in 1997. He’s been a professional politician for the past 20 years. He’s 62 years old.

What does he believe?

  • Opposes all gun control
    • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives him a 0% rating
  • Opposes any Climate change legislation that impacts taxes (i.e., Carbon tax)
  • Wants the US Constitution to say that a marriage is between one man and one woman
  • Wants businesses to legally be able to fire people for sexual orientation
    • Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, gives him a 0% rating
  • Opposes a woman’s right to control her body
  • Wants hospitals to decline to provide emergency care to women who have had complications from pregnancy termination
    • Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America give him a grade of 0.

What bills has he proposed?

  • HR 4464 to amend the Civil Rights Act to clarify that employers can fire someone for not being proficient in English
  • HR 6910 to expand oil and natural gas drilling
  • Some 20+ various policies that became HR 3400 – Empowering Patients First Act (EPFA)

Why was he chosen for Secretary of Health & Human Services?

  • The Empowering Patients First Act
    • It is a detailed provision on how he proposes to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There are competing plans, from Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan and others, but choosing Price shows what method of dissecting the existing law Trump wants.

If he is confirmed and his vision comes to pass, what will it mean?

The actual bill is 242 pages long. I’ll do my best to summarize some highlights for certain groups.

  • Poor people? The expansion of Medicaid has been removed. This provides medical insurance to those earning less than $16,394 per year and who are not given the option of medical coverage through their employer. This group would now be obligated to buy on an open market they likely can’t afford. This group, which would now have no insurance, includes more than 15 million people.
  • Pre-existing condition? This group would have to be careful as to how they navigate as only those with “continuous coverage” are eligible for reduced rates. For example, if you have diabetes and leave your job and lose your insurance you must pay for COBRA to cover the lapse before the new insurance begins. Not doing so makes you eligible for the high risk pool which can be 1.5 times the prior rate.
  • Healthy and young? Insurers can cut whatever benefits they want to make the plans more attractive, and cost-effective, for those who don’t need them. For example, if you didn’t want maternity coverage on the plan you wouldn’t have to pay for that. You’d save money. A woman who wants that coverage would now have to pay more.
  • Old people? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers can charge those over 50 only three times the amount they charge the youngest enrollees. That limit would be removed. Insurers could charge whatever premium they want.
  • Those who get insurance from work? Removes the tax exclusion for employers who provide health insurance. (This is the letters DD or W on your W-2 form) Today employers are not taxed on this amount that they provide. There will now be limits of $8,000 per individual and $20,000 per family. That means that plans purchased through work would be much more expensive. My 2015 employer contribution was nearly $27,000. The organization would recoup the amount they are taxed by placing the burden on me, the insured.

In short, this plan will be cheaper for the government. It will save billions of dollars over the next decade. It does that by taking insurance away from poor people, making older people pay more because they’re older, making sick people pay more because they’re sick and making everyone who gets insurance at work pay more in case they get sick. It chooses fiscal responsibility over citizen welfare.

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