Choosing Tom Price exemplifies why we should expect the worst from Trump


On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump named Rep. Tom Price, MD to be his secretary of health and human services, which should allay any doubts anyone might have had that Trump was not really serious about gutting the Affordable Care Act, or that he was serious about protecting Medicare.

Donald Trump's selection of retired orthopedic surgeon and current House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) to head the Department of Health and Human Services has been met with well-deserved revulsion by those who are committed to protecting access to healthcare.

Price believes that women can, and should, pay for birth control out of their own pockets, and he has cosponsored what NARAL Pro-Choice America Senior Vice President Sasha Bruce describes as "some of the most offensive anti-choice legislation on record." Bruce further notes that Price "has been on the front lines of the efforts to dismantle the lifesaving Affordable Care Act, as well as the dangerous attempts to defund Planned Parenthood."

In fact, Price, who also favors privatizing Medicare, has been the leading voice in Congress when it comes to repealing and "replacing" Obamacare, and, unlike Trump's typically vague proposals, Price has actual legislation that he has been pushing for years to make it happen.

It is a deeply harmful proposal, seeking to "replace" Obamacare's critical protections against preexisting conditions limitations with "high risk pools" that leave most ill or disabled patients unable to afford coverage. Price's plan also "replaces" Medicaid expansion with nothing, guts the quality of coverage, guts state insurance regulations, and raises taxes on employer-based health plans.

As head of the Department of Health and Human Services, Price would have a somewhat limited ability to undo Obama-era reforms using administrative powers, but would also be in a position to shape Congress' health care efforts.

Trump has repeatedly said he will be a president for the entire nation, and has made noises indicating he might not decimate healthcare access, prompting a number of commentators to suggest that Trump may moderate as president.

But his selection of Price is a clear signal that he intends to aggressively pursue devastating rollbacks of healthcare access, despite the fact that large majorities of Americans have consistently favored retaining or liberalizing Obamacare, and the candidate who would have done that received millions more votes.

Once again, Trump has proven that there is no reason to "give him a chance." He will continue to use every chance he is given to pursue policies that will harm countless Americans.

(Melissa McEwan contributed to this article.)