FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 18, 2017
Contact: Mark Almberg, communications director, Physicians for a National Health Program, (312) 782-6006, firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 2,000 physicians and medical students who oppose the nomination of Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services — and who support the creation of a single-payer national health program to cover all Americans — are among the signers of petitions being presented this morning to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee calling upon the committee to reject President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee.
Their statement, which appears below, concludes as follows: “Price’s health policy prescriptions would move our nation’s health care system in the wrong direction, endangering the health of tens of millions. These policies would further obstruct access to care and concentrate even more power in the hands of corporate interests. What America needs, now more than ever, is a single-payer national health program — an improved Medicare for all.”
In a related statement, Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the following today: “Physicians for a National Health Program urges the members of the Senate HELP committee to reject the nomination of Rep. Tom Price for secretary of health and human services. A vote for Tom Price is a vote against 30 million Americans who will lose their health insurance. It is a vote against Medicare. It is a vote against Medicaid. It is a vote to sharply reduce Americans’ access to health care, when in fact we urgently need to expand it to all.”
The text of the petition — signed by 2,010 medical professionals in 48 states and the District of Columbia — turned in to the Senate HELP committee this morning reads as follows:
An Open Letter from Physicians Regarding the Nomination of Tom Price
We urge the Senate to reject the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Price’s record indicates that his confirmation as Secretary would be disastrous for patients, doctors, and all who care about the health of the American people.
• As a member of Congress, Price introduced the Empowering Patients First Act as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. That bill relies on discredited policies such as high-risk pools, individual tax credits, and allowing insurers to sell bare-bones policies. If signed into law, it would eliminate coverage for millions of Americans; benefit young healthy males at the expense of women, and the old, sick and poor; and offer the wealthy substantial new tax breaks.
• Together with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Price has pushed to replace Medicare with a “premium support” (i.e. voucher) program that would threaten traditional Medicare, increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors, and bolster the profits of the private insurance and financial services industries.
• Price, along with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nominee Seema Verma, has supported converting Medicaid into a block grant program. This would allow states free reign to implement cruel Medicaid cutbacks and policies that compromise the health of their poorest residents. (Verma’s health savings accounts in Indiana are a prime example.)
• Price has been hostile to family planning, and has endorsed policies that would place millions of women at risk. His extreme views include opposition to abortion under almost all circumstances, a preference for “religious freedom” over access to contraception, and an obsession with eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
• Price has a long history of opposition to LGBT rights. As HHS secretary, he may decline to enforce nondiscrimination provisions of existing laws. Furthermore, his preferred Medicaid policies would restrict access to HIV/AIDS treatment for the most vulnerable patients.
Price’s health policy prescriptions would move our nation’s health care system in the wrong direction, endangering the health of tens of millions. These policies would further obstruct access to care and concentrate even more power in the hands of corporate interests. What America needs, now more than ever, is a single-payer national health program — an improved Medicare for all.
Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is a nonprofit research and educational organization of 20,000 physicians who advocate for single-payer national health insurance. It was founded in 1986.