Dems Call For Additional Witnesses In Price Confirmation Hearing

Juliegrace Brufke | Capitol Hill Reporter

A group of Senate Democrats are calling for additional witnesses to be brought forth to testify at Georgia Rep. Tom Price’s confirmation hearing following his nomination for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The lawmakers, led by Pennsylvania Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, expressed their reservations in a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Chairman of the Committee On Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Chairman of the Committee on Finance.

Price, a vocal Obamacare opponent, has repeatedly said the country needs to change course on healthcare policy due to the skyrocketing premiums and the drastic reduction in access to care since the Obamacare’s implementation.

Democrats dismissed Republicans calls to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation, arguing that the panel needs to hear from witnesses who will lay out potential consequences.

“We ask that the Committees’ hearings on the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) include witnesses who can provide the Committee with context on Dr. Price’s policy views and the likely consequences of such policies, should they be implemented,” it reads. “As you know, Dr. Price has a long record in the House of Representatives of supporting fundamental changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

Price, a physician, wrote a proposal to simultaneously repeal and replace the bill — which Democrats heavily criticized for its language aimed at cutting funding to Planned Parenthood.

“The policies Dr. Price has pursued during his time in Congress ‘bear directly’ on his ‘qualifications’ and ‘suitability’ to serve as HHS Secretary,” the letter says. “Dr. Price has championed legislation that would result in as many as 30 million Americans losing their health coverage, increase out-of-pocket costs for those with insurance, allow insurers to charge higher premiums to women, eliminate coverage for services such as maternity care, and reinstate annual and lifetime limits on benefits.”

Republicans vow to retain popular provisions, including allowing those under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ plan and requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions.

Price is expected to easily pass the nomination process.

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