January 18, 2017

Kaine To Trump Nominee Tom Price: Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Chip & Planned Parenthood Are Pillars Of Health Care That Can’t Be Dismantled

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, participated in a hearing on the nomination of U.S. Representative Tom Price to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Kaine raised concerns over Price’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, and restrict access to women’s reproductive health care, as well as Price’s comments that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – which has provided health coverage to eight million children in need - was ‘socialized medicine.’ Kaine also reiterated his willingness to work with Republicans on improvements to existing laws, but stated that Congress should not be rushing to repeal the ACA or any of these critical health care programs that provide access to high quality care for millions of Americans, including families across Virginia.

“My worry as a Virginian is your positions on a whole range of programs that are about access and coverage, the so called ‘safety net’ that provides health care to millions of people,” Kaine said. In reply to Price’s remark that his goal was to ‘lower the temperature’ around the health care debate, Kaine said, “I don’t think lowering the temperature is consistent with rushing [to repeal the ACA]. In fact, in my experiences traveling around Virginia recently, it actually has resulted in huge amounts of fear.”

Expressing concern about whether Price would support the Office of Minority Health at HHS, Kaine pressed him on why he fought in his state legislature to support the use of the Confederate flag in Georgia’s state flag, as well his sponsorship of a state resolution to start a Confederate History Heritage month in Georgia that urged schools to teach the importance of the history of southern independence.

“I read the resolution and with interest because of the phrase, ‘commemorating the time of southern independence,’ and I note that the resolution mentions nothing about slavery. Why did you support that resolution? … What is laudatory about the time of Southern independence?” Kaine asked.

Kaine has been a strong advocate in the Senate for protecting the ACA from repeal. He introduced the lead amendment to stop Republican efforts to undo the law, as well as led a group of moderate Senate Democrats on a letter asking Republican Senate leadership to abandon their rush to repeal and instead pursue bipartisan talks to make meaningful improvements to the existing law.