Donald Trump has found his next Cabinet pick. According to The New York Times, the representative from Georgia will head the Department of Health and Human Services—and that’s terrible news for anyone who depends on the Affordable Care Act.
“Chairman Price, a renowned physician, has earned a reputation for being a tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy, making him the ideal choice to serve in this capacity,” Trump said in a statement. “He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American.”
The ACA is unquestionably flawed. Its premiums are expensive and are set to become even more expensive. But it’s still preferable to Price’s proposed alternative.
His Empowering Patients First Act would replace the ACA with a series of age-adjusted tax credits. Under Price’s plan, individuals would receive the yearly credits to subsidize the cost of their private insurance plans. Adults between the ages of 18 and 35, for example, would receive a credit of $1,200. That might be enough to subsidize the insurance needs of young adults in perfect health, but it’s no good to anyone else.
Price also supports the establishment of high-risk insurance pools on a state-by-state basis. As the Commonwealth Fund noted here, high-risk pools would penalize Americans with pre-existing conditions: It’s expensive to have a disability. Though his plan does provide block grants to states for the purposes of subsidizing expenses, they’d have significant leeway to use them as their respective governments see fit. The South’s general failure to expand Medicaid offers little hope states would act responsibly here.
Price’s policies are uniquely appalling considered in light of his profession: He is a physician. But rather than prioritize the needs of vulnerable Americans, he’s built a career by advancing right-wing dogma at their expense. He is a perfect fit for the Trump administration, and a nightmare for sick Americans.