Statement on the Confirmation of Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services
For Immediate Release
February 9, 2017 – WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate voted by a narrow margin of 52 – 47 to confirm Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In light of Sec. Price’s previous statements threatening Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Medicare Advocacy will be vigilant during his tenure. We will identify and oppose policies that threaten the health and well-being of the millions of Americans and their families who rely on these critical health programs.
Previously, Sec. Price has expressed agreement with Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to hand Medicare over to the private insurance industry. This plan, often known as Voucher Care or Premium Support, would give Medicare beneficiaries a certain amount of money to help pay for private health insurance. The plan would end Medicare as we know it.
Older adults and people with disabilities need to know that Medicare will continue to guarantee a set of defined benefits that will cover the health care and services they need. It would be tragic if renewed efforts to privatize Medicare succeed in returning the health of older and disabled people to the profit-driven insurance industry – the very industry that failed this population and led to the creation of Medicare in the first place.
In his Senate confirmation hearing, Sec. Price said the repeal of Obamacare is about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, not about Medicare. This is not true. Full repeal of ACA will harm Medicare as well. ACA added benefits and financial stability to the Medicare program, all of which are in jeopardy if ACA is repealed.
Further, Rep. Price introduced a Bill to replace ACA in 2015 that would have pushed people with pre-existing conditions into “High Risk Pools,” although these insurance models have historically failed to offer good, affordable coverage for vulnerable people. In addition, Price will be a ready partner for Speaker Ryan in his efforts to privatize Medicare.
As advocates for older and disabled people, the Center for Medicare Advocacy will do all we can to recognize threats to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. We will work with Secretary Price to protect and enhance access to quality health care, but oppose efforts that would shut doors to care. Too many have worked too long to open those doors. We will not let them close without a fight. The price would be too high for families all over the country.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan law organization that provides education, advocacy, analysis and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and quality health care. We focus on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in writing, education, and advocacy of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. The Center is headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC, with offices throughout the country.