HHS Nominee Rep. Tom Price Poses Serious Threats to Social Safety Net

HHS Nominee Rep. Tom Price Poses Serious Threats to Social Safety Net

NHeLP Statement on the Nomination of Rep. Tom Price to Head HHS

Washington – The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) has advocated for the health rights of low-income Americans and underserved communities since 1969. These individuals and families face brutal challenges securing essential health care. But the president-elect – as evidenced by his nomination of Rep. Tom Price — is bent on making the lives of our most vulnerable even more difficult – by targeting the Affordable Care Act, and the Medicaid guarantee.

People of color, women, elderly and low-income adults will be hit hardest by the policies Trump and Price have promised to pursue. Price is a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act, leading the charge since its enactment in 2010 to repeal it, which would yank health care coverage from 25 million people, many of who now have health care for the first time. Price also wants to see fewer people enrolled in Medicaid. Turning Medicaid into a block grant or limiting its scope by other means would have a devastating impact on millions of lives, the uninsured rate in this country would rise again, and economic inequality would continue to fester.

Price has equally alarming views about women’s health. His policies, if implemented, will endanger the lives of millions of women from coast to coast. But Price seems unaware of that risk and is out of touch with the reality of health care needs of women. He told Think Progress that all women can afford contraception and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the huge numbers of low income individuals who depend on Planned Parenthood for their essential health care. As his stance on Planned Parenthood suggests, Price staunchly opposes reproductive rights. In 2007 he voted for an outlandish bill that would have effectively banned abortions nationwide.

The nomination of Seema Verma, a health care consultant who helped then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence expand Medicaid in Indiana, for head of CMS demands close scrutiny. Verma helped push through a Medicaid expansion that requires beneficiaries to make monthly payments to obtain health care services, a condition that ignores economic reality for most people who are eligible for Medicaid.

NHeLP is familiar with efforts to decimate Medicaid’s financing mechanisms, and helped defeat them in the 1990s and early 2000s. We will fight to do so again. The Trump administration will get to know NHeLP’s attorneys, who for decades have defended and advanced health care rights for low-income individuals, disproportionately communities of color, women and the elderly. We know how to fight, and intend to do so.

Please contact NHeLP’s Communications Department at leaming@healthlaw.org for further comment on these nominations.

Founded in 1969 NHeLP advocates for the rights of low-income and underserved people to access quality health care.

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