Just moments after the Senate declared war on civil rights by confirming Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, they voted to advance the nomination of Congressman Tom Price – Donald Trump’s anti-Obamacare pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
By a 51 to 48 vote, the Senate moved to proceed toward a final confirmation vote for Price, likely to be held on Friday.
Price is among the most dangerous of Trump’s cabinet picks, particularly because the GOP’s desired destruction of the Affordable Care Act relies heavily on whether he gets confirmed to lead HHS.
As the Hill noted on Wednesday, “Republicans say their plans to repeal the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act depend largely on Price taking control of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as many policy changes can be made administratively.”
One Republican member of Congress called Price’s nomination “more important” than Trump’s other picks because “it will allow their healthcare reform plans to move ahead,” according to the Hill.
In other words, Price as head of the Department of Health and Human Services will make the GOP attempt to take health insurance from millions of Americans much easier.
Price’s policy positions aren’t the only reason he should be denied this cabinet post. He’s also someone who has shown that he will use his power to benefit his own financial interests over those of the people he’s meant to serve.
Just hours before Price’s nomination moved forward in the Senate, the USA TODAY released an analysis raising new questions about Price’s past stock purchases.
More from the report:
President Trump’s choice to be the top U.S. health official bought and sold health care company stocks often enough as a member of Congress to warrant probes by both federal securities regulators and the House ethics committee, former government ethics lawyers say.
A USA TODAY analysis of stock trade reports by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., also shows he often misstated the timing of stock purchases or failed to report them altogether.
These include disclosures related to his much-publicized investment in the Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, which gave him preferential treatment for a private stock offering he learned of through another member of Congress who is the company’s biggest shareholder.
Price also invested in more health care companies that could benefit from legislation he introduced than previously reported.
Ultimately, there is very little in Price that makes him worthy of leading this critical cabinet post. Not only are his ethics questionable (at best), but his support of destroying the Affordable Care Act and gutting Medicare and Medicaid make him an unacceptable nominee.
Democrats should unite in opposition to his confirmation and urge any courageous Republicans – if there are any left – to do the same.
Health insurance coverage for millions of Americans is at stake.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.