President Donald J. Trump’s perceived intentions to dissolve President Obama’s Affordable Care Act have been a source of immense political controversy. In recent weeks, Trump has translated his campaign promise into action in his nomination of sixth-term Republican congressman, Tom Price.
Price, a highly professional and widely known orthopedic surgeon, has openly criticized Obamacare since its implementation in 2010 and advocated for significant reform of the current American health care system. A conscientious medical professional, Price contests that the Affordable Care Act severely restrains the ability of physicians to make proper medical decisions with regard to their patients. Unlike his fellow Conservatives who have openly repudiated the health act without providing any alternative, Price has established a coherent and well-developed legislative proposal. His proposed legislation, titled the “Empowering Patients First Act,” aims to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a plan that offers age-adjusted tax credits for the purchase of individual health insurance policies. This action would have far-reaching effects, including generating incentive among citizens to contribute to health savings accounts, granting states federal subsidies to finance insurance for needy populations, and providing insurers with more personal freedoms. Additionally, he has introduced legislation designed to help doctors, like himself, defend themselves more easily against malpractice lawsuits, as well as plans to grant doctors the ability to enter into private contracts with Medicare recipients. Price, a pro-life advocate, has also been a strong proponent of legislation limiting federal funds for Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides women with reproductive services both in the U.S. and on an international scale.
Price’s legislative outlines have wreaked havoc on Democratic spirits. According to New York State Senator Chuck Schumer, “Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood. Thanks to those three programs, millions of American seniors, families, people with disabilities, and women have access to quality, affordable health care…” Supporters of Planned Parenthood, along with its operators, view Price’s plans as highly sexist and anticipate tremendous setbacks for women if these proposals were to actually take effect. Said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “[Mr. Price] poses a grave threat to women’s health… [his legislation] could take women back decades.” He goes on to explain that women may very well lose access to contraceptive devices and be forced to pay higher prices than men for the same health insurance.
Mr. Price’s expertise on Medicare coupled with the awesome responsibilities of his office will render him extremely powerful over the health care system. If Trump allows Price’s legislation to be implemented, the financial, political, and social ramifications will be enormous.