WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made no mention Friday of the chartered flights at taxpayer expense that now former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price appeared to have resigned over.
“The mission of the Health and Human Services secretary should be to support Americans’ health care, not take it away. The next HHS secretary must follow the law when it comes to the Affordable Care Act instead of trying to sabotage it,” Schumer said in a brief statement.
Price stepped down from his post early Friday evening after pressure built up over news about flying on taxpayer funded private planes for his HHS work. In his resignation letter, Price says it was an “honor” to work for President Trump and talks about HHS’s work to better the health and well being of Americans.
He writes, “This includes working to reform a broken health care system, empower patients, reduce regulatory burdens, ensure global health security, and tackle clinical priorities such as the opioids epidemic, serious mental illness and childhood obesity. I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement on Price’s resignation as well, saying:
“Tom Price is a good man. He has spent his entire adult life fighting for others, first as a physician and then as a legislator and public servant. He was a leader in the House and a superb health secretary. His vision and hard work were vital to the House’s success passing our health care legislation. I will always be grateful for Tom’s service to this country and, above all, his continued friendship.”
Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee expressed his displeasure saying in a statement,“I understand and respect Tom Price’s decision, but the news is disappointing. He has had a distinguished career as a physician and public health advocate, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with him again.”
According to the White House, President Trump appointed Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as acting HHS secretary immediately following Price’s resignation. Wright previously served as the deputy assistant secretary for HHS and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.