WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement about the hearing to consider the nomination of Rep. Tom Price to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Today’s nomination hearing for the next Secretary of Health and Human Services came days after President Trump took executive action empowering federal agencies to begin unraveling the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Alarmingly, these actions were taken despite warnings from nearly every corner of our health care system, including patients, hospitals, physicians, and businesses, that repealing the ACA without a replacement will cause uncertainty and instability in our health care system and raise health care costs for all Americans.
“During his nomination hearing today, Mr. Price did not assuage my concerns about the future of our health care system and the impact to the thousands of Delawareans and millions of Americans if the ACA is repealed. In Congress, Mr. Price has championed proposals that show little regard for the most vulnerable members of our communities. He said nothing today to distance himself from those troubling policies, including his past proposals to cut more than $1 trillion from Medicaid and eliminate essential health benefits for millions of Americans.
“Today, I reminded Mr. Price of one of the Bible verses I often reflect upon as I think through the difficult policy issues we must tackle as members of this body – Matthew 25: ‘When I was hungry, did you feed me: when I was naked, did you clothe me; when I was thirsty, did you give me a drink; when I was a stranger in your land, did you take me in?’ Matthew 25 does not say, ‘when I had no health care other than a visit to the emergency room, did you help me find regular access to a doctor?’ but I believe the spirit of this question is enshrined in that verse. Our federal government has a moral responsibility to care for the ‘least of these’ in our society, and that’s what we did by passing the ACA into law. Any effort to break that promise without first ensuring that there is an alternative that does no harm to those who depend on the ACA is unconscionable.
“Finally, as members of the Senate, we have an important responsibility to review every president’s Cabinet nominees, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Therefore, I look forward to receiving Mr. Price’s responses to the additional questions I have submitted for the record. Ultimately, I will review his nomination based on his commitment to protecting Americans from suffering a decline in the affordability or quality of their care, and in the worst cases, protecting them from losing their coverage altogether.”