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On the Nomination PN33: Thomas Price, of Georgia, to be Secretary of Health and Human Services

Feb 10, 2017 at 1:46 a.m. ET.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA6), a six-term Congressman first elected in 2004, was President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. This Senate vote confirmed the nomination.

Trump in his first post-election television interview with “60 Minutes” pledged that health care would be one of his top three priorities in his first year as president, along with border security and job creation, making this Cabinet pick especially important.

What bills has Price introduced and how has he voted in Congress on issues related to health care?

Notable health care bills Price introduced:

The Medical Freedom Act.

Trump has indicated he would be open to keeping a few select portions of the Affordable Care Act intact, including allowing children to remain on their parents’ insurance plans through age 26 and requiring insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. Where does Price stand on those two provisions? Although Price does not appear to have directly commented since Trump’s mid-November comments, Price bill H.R. 1234 would have largely eliminated those two provisions. The bill attracted 22 cosponsors, all Republicans, but never received a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Empowering Patients First Act.

H.R. 2300 is a plan for replacement when and if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. The bill would provide refundable tax credits for health insurance and health savings account (HSA) contributions, limit the amount of an employer’s contribution to health coverage that could be excluded from an employee’s taxable income, and explicitly clarifies that no coverage receiving federal tax credits or deductions can be used to pay for an abortion. The bill attracted 84 cosponsors, all Republicans, but never received a vote in committee — perhaps unusual for a bill featuring that many cosponsors from the majority party.

The Medical Practice Freedom Act.

H.R. 3100 would prevent any health care provider — such as a doctor or hospital — from being required to participate in a certain health plan or comply with electronic medical records requirements in the Affordable Care Act. Some doctors and health care providers contend that the electronic records requirements are unduly expensive, burdensome, and potentially unsafe and susceptible to hacking. The bill attracted three cosponsors, all Republicans, but never received a vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

How Price voted on healthcare bills introduced by others

Repealing Obamacare. Price — along with all but three House Republicans — voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, in January 2015. That measure was noteworthy as the 62nd repeal bill but the first repeal bill to reach President Obama’s desk, The measure was not enacted into law, passing both chambers of Congress but unable to overcome a presidential veto. However, an identical or similar bill appears likely to be enacted under President Trump and the Republican Congress.

Roe v. Wade. Price is pro-life and along with all but four Republicans voted for H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill passed the House but failed cloture in the Senate. Price has called for the overturning of the 1976 Supreme Court decision which guaranteed abortion as a constitutional right. On the 40th anniversary of the decision in January 2016, Price wrote, “Every human life is precious in the eyes of God and should be protected under the rule of law. As lawmakers, we must strive to protect it, especially the most innocent among us. This begins by passing legislation to prohibit federal funding for abortions.” The aforementioned repeal bill which Price voted for also contained a provision to eliminate all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The women’s health care organization has long been the bane of conservatives for the abortions they provide, even though abortions account for only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services.

Selling health insurance across state lines. Price advocates for allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, a practice currently illegal. Supporters say that allowing more markets would increase competition and drive down costs. Opponents worry that such a system could create needless competition, allow for fewer doctors, and maybe even drive costs up.

Price serves as Chair of the House Budget Committee, having taken over the highly-coveted spot from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI1), and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

Totals

All Votes R D I
Yea 53%
 
 
 
52
52
 
0
 
0
 
Nay 47%
 
 
 
47
0
 
45
 
2
 
Not Voting
 
 
 
1
0
 
1
 
0
 

Nomination Confirmed. Simple Majority Required. Source: senate.gov.

The Yea votes represented 46% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

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Republican - Yea Democrat - Nay
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