Price Also Refuses To Directly Answer On His Vote Against Measure to Protect Women From Being Fired or Penalized Because Of Their Reproductive Health Care Decisions
WASHINGTON – In today’s confirmation hearing for Congressman Tom Price, President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Senator Hassan repeatedly pressed Rep. Price on the harmful impact that repealing the Affordable Care Act would have on efforts to combat the substance abuse crisis.
Senator Hassan cited the story of a constituent named Ashley whom she met last week. Ashley is now in recovery from heroin addiction after she was able to get substance abuse treatment because of New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan. Under questioning from Senator Hassan, Rep. Price would not guarantee that Americans with substance use disorders who have gotten insurance through Medicaid expansion, just like Ashley did, would still be covered for these services if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
Rep. Price also would not commit to continuing the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that health insurance companies must cover essential health benefits, including treatment for substance abuse. When speaking of the importance of requiring essential benefits such as primary care and substance abuse treatment, Senator Hassan said, “if insurance companies never offer it, [people] don’t have the option. They can pay good premium dollars, but it’s just not offered. And the Affordable Care Act said to the insurance industry, here are some basic things you have got to offer so that when a patient needs care, the coverage is there and they can get the care. And your answer and the Empowering Patients [First] Act would take that assurance away. It’s not an option if insurance doesn’t cover it.”
Senator Hassan also pressed Rep. Price on his record when it comes to women’s health. Rep. Price refused to directly answer on his vote to disapprove Washington, D.C.’s non-discrimination law, the Reproductive Health Non-discrimination Act, which protects women in Washington from being fired or penalized because of their reproductive health decisions. Despite Rep. Price’s statements to the contrary, his vote would have had the effect of allowing an employer to fire a woman for using birth control, being pregnant and unmarried, or for other decisions she makes about her own body and reproductive health.