A recent NEJM commentary reviews Dr. Tom Price’s congressional record and the implications for his impending appointment to head HHS.
Here’s an excerpt:
Ostensibly, he emphasizes the importance of making our health care system “more responsive and affordable to meet the needs of America’s patients and those who care for them.”4 But as compared with his predecessors’ actions, Price’s record demonstrates less concern for the sick, the poor, and the health of the public and much greater concern for the economic well-being of their physician caregivers…
Price has sponsored legislation that supports making armor-piercing bullets more accessible and opposing regulations on cigars, and he has voted against regulating tobacco as a drug. His voting record shows long-standing opposition to policies aimed at improving access to care for the most vulnerable Americans. In 2007–2008, during the presidency of George W. Bush, he was one of only 47 representatives to vote against the Domenici–Wellstone Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which improved coverage for mental health care in private insurance plans. He also voted against funding for combating AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; against expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and in favor of allowing hospitals to turn away Medicaid and Medicare patients seeking nonemergency care if they could not afford copayments.
Price favors converting Medicare to a premium-support system and changing the structure of Medicaid to a block grant — policy options that shift financial risk from the federal government to vulnerable populations.
My take: I’m worried that patients who need even basic care may not receive it if the affordable care act is repealed without a backup plan in place.
Related NY Times article discusses Dr. Price: Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation’s Doctors Divided The article discusses the AMA’s endorsement of Dr. Price and how many physicians have countered that the AMA does not speak for them.