The republican President-elect Donald Trump pick to lead HHS is Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price who has been a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act and a leading advocate of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. He has been against the ACA because of his belief that government should not be involved with people’s healthcare. He has stated for the record, “”We believe that patients and doctors should be in control of health care. People have coverage, but they don’t have care.”
He is like a lot of privileged republicans who are clueless about how the health insurance companies have been running the show. It is the executives of these companies who limit access to a list of doctors and who require the right to preapprove certain tests and procedures, recommended by a physician, as part of their policy packages. This is true if Americans have health coverage via private insurance companies through their employers or through the ACA exchange..
The larger businesses purchase the health insurance at a reduced cost because the company has an adequate number of employees to where the insurance company can spread the risk while still making a profit. The ACA uses the same concept of having enough peoples to purchase insurance, so that the risk is spread to where the insurance is more affordable and available. Just like companies which pay for part of the employees’ costs, the ACA provides subsidies to help those with a limited income to have access to the health insurance. To make sure that enough folks sign up, so that the risk is spread (balance of healthy clients with those who are sick. in large numbers), the mandate was established. The company and the ACA exchange deal with the same private health insurance companies like, Aetna, United, Blue Cross, Humana, etc. The only exception to this, is if an individual or family has Medicaid..
In the past, Mr. Price has been a proponent of privatizing Medicare and Medicaid which is a stance that is counter to the president-elect’s promises to his supporters to keep both untouched.
While the above belief system will not derail Mr. Tom Price in the confirmation process, his alleged insider trading practices may be an insurmountable obstacle. His excuse is that his broker did it without his knowledge. This explanation does not meet the reasonable person standard which is that most folks in his position would simply notify the broker not to purchase any health related stocks or at least, to inform him before making any such transactions.
On 12/22/2016, James V. Grimaldi and Michelle Hackman of the Wall Street Journal addressed this issue in their report, “Donald Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Traded Medical Stocks While in House.”
“President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the Health and Human Services Department traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years while sponsoring and advocating legislation that potentially could affect those companies’ stocks.”
“Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, bought and sold stock in about 40 health-care, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies since 2012, including a dozen in the current congressional session, according to a Wall Street Journal review of hundreds of pages of stock trades he filed with Congress.”
“In the same two-year period, he has sponsored nine and co-sponsored 35 health-related bills in the House.”