From Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator
Received April 25, 2017
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about the nomination of Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I share your concerns and that is why I voted against his confirmation. Congressman Price’s record raises serious concerns about his fitness to serve as Secretary of HHS and his commitment to achieving quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans, especially our nation’s most vulnerable populations.
The Department of Health and Human Services oversees key agencies like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These agencies are tasked with administering the Medicare and Medicaid programs, responding to disease outbreaks, reviewing the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices, and funding biomedical research, respectively, among many other significant federal activities to protect the health and well-being of Americans in all 50 states, D.C., and the U.S. territories.
We need a Secretary of Health and Human Services whose primary goal is to improve our public health and our health care system. Congressman Price has not shown that he is committed to that goal. He has made very clear that he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would take health insurance away from nearly three million New Yorkers and tens of millions of Americans across the country. He has repeatedly voted to limit women’s access to family planning services, including defunding Planned Parenthood, even though millions of women rely on family planning services for contraception care, cancer screenings, infertility services, and screenings for STDs, including hundreds of thousands of women in New York. He has said that he wants to turn Medicare into a “voucher” system, which would increase out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors and individuals with disabilities. He wants to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, which would force Americans who thought they were getting ready to retire to stay on the job for two more years just to keep their health insurance. Finally, Congressman Price wants to slash Medicaid funding, which would leave millions of low-income Americans with nowhere to go when they get sick.
In addition to my significant concerns about Congressman Price’s health policy positions, I am also very disturbed by ethical questions around his investment decisions while serving in Congress. Shortly after Congressman Price bought thousands of dollars of stock in a medical device company, he introduced legislation to delay a federal regulation that financial analysts expected would negatively affect the medical device company. I have called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct an investigation into this matter. Recent reports have identified additional instances where Congressman Price purchased stock in health care or pharmaceutical companies, and then introduced legislation that would benefit those companies.
I cannot support a nominee who wants to take health care away from millions of women, seniors, children, and low-income Americans, and I cannot support a nominee who would put his own financial interests above the best interests of the American public. For these reasons, I voted against the confirmation of Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office in the future. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.
Sincerely, Kirsten Gillibrand