If We Want to Stop Price’s Confirmation it’s Now or Never

The Senate will vote on Tom Price, the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, later this week, the final step in what should have been a long consideration process. Normally, a Senate committee holds a hearing, which allows Senators to ask the nominee about their record, and the hearing is followed by a committee vote. But Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee didn’t give the committee’s Democrats a chance to vote on Price’s nomination. Instead, the Republican chairman suspended the usual rules and voted on his nomination when there wasn’t a single Democratic senator in the room—silencing the voice of the opposition. There’s a reason they had to resort to this manipulative, and arguably anti-democratic, tactic—Tom Price’s record shows that he should not be allowed to serve in this critical position.
Price has been a U.S. representative for more than a decade, and he has spent that time voting to eliminate the ACA, weaken the social safety net, increase barriers to abortion and other reproductive health care, and opposing LGBTQ rights. Price’s record alone is enough to know that he should not be allowed to serve in this critical position, and his hearings confirmed it. His answers, or failure to answer, senators’ questions made clear that he cannot be trusted to lead a department where the stated mission is to “enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans.”

  • As a representative, Tom Price tried to block a D.C. law that prevents employers from firing employees because of their reproductive health care decisions like taking birth control. During his hearings, he refused to admit it. In fact, he showed how profoundly out of touch he is with reality by flatly denying this type of workplace discrimination even happens, but we have receipts.
  • Price’s answers about a potential ACA replacement plan made clear that he would leave lower-income individuals and their families behind by making quality health coverage accessible only to those who make enough to pay for it.
  • Price would not commit to ensuring that health plans would provide everyone with the coverage they need. In fact, he made clear that health plans would not be required to cover health services women need– like maternity coverage and birth control without cost-sharing.
  • On top of all of that, Price refused to commit to keeping many of the ACA’s critical patient protections. He would not even commit to ensuring children cannot be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition or prohibiting health plans from denying domestic violence survivors coverage by claiming it’s a pre-existing condition.

Add it all up and it’s no wonder they had to resort to shady tactics to get Price’s nomination through to the Senate floor. With one final chance to stop his confirmation, it’s time for Senators to stand up for the health and well-being of people across the country.