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tv   HHS Nominee Representative Tom Price Testifies on Capitol Hill  CSPAN  January 18, 2017 3:46pm-5:56pm EST

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beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern and that will be live as well. we have covered for senate confirmation hearings today. this is actually a nomination hearing to help with the labor committee which will finally decide on tom price, which will fall to the finance committee. the hearing got underway this morning. this is what it looked like.
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[indiscernible chatter]
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[gavel] the hearing will come to order. the committee on health, education, labor, and pensions
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will come to order. today, we are reviewing the nomination of dr. tom price to be the secretary of health and human services. dr. price, we welcome you and congratulations on your nomination. welcome to you and your wife, betty, who is here with you. i enjoyed having the opportunity to visit with you in my office and learn about your plans. dr. price will be introduced today in a few minutes by a member of this committee and dr. state senator. before senator isaac introduces the nominee, senator murray and i will make a few introductory remarks. after the nominee makes his statement, we will have a usual round of questions. now let me say something about , that round of questions. last night, we had a hearing of 3.5 hours.
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i tried as chairman to be fair by following the same precedent we had with president obama's two education nominees by having one round of five minute questions followed by senator murray and me asking questions and wrapping up. i do not want to argue that again because we spent a lot of the 3.5 hours arguing about the 3.5 hours. i have listened carefully to what my colleagues have said and the health ofat human services secretary, when that person came before our committee. secretary burwell had one round of questions. one round, plus dr. coburn asking questions. six members ask questions in the second round. thompson, one round, but it was
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a round of seven minutes. six members ask a second round. so what i decided to do in an effort to treat president-elect trump's nominee the same as we have treated other nominees is to have a single round of seven minute questions today. with secretary thompson, and that seems to me to give everyone in the senate more time to ask questions with the secretary. this is a courtesy hearing. dr. price will be before the finance committee on next tuesday. a number of members of this committee are also members of the finance committee. we do not vote on his nomination, they do. and we will be the ones who
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it to the floor if that is their decision. we have the hearing because we have some of the health care jurisdiction, important parts of it. we would like to talk to him about especially those issues. he has all of his paperwork in place before the finance committee, including the letter of agreement with the office of government ethics, available to this committee as well as others. so it is my hope that in our seven minute of questions, we have time to focus on the responsibilities of the department of health and human services rather than have a continuing discussion about the number of minutes. there will be an opportunity following the hearing to ask written questions of dr. price as well. dr. price, if you are confirmed to lead the department of health and human services, you will run
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an organization that spends $1.1 trillion a year. that has always troubled me, actually, that he will be in charge of spending more than congress actually appropriates every year. by that, i mean the part of the budget we re-appropriate which is under good control, the part that has national defense, national institutes of health, national parks, and national laboratories, over the last several years, that part is rising at about the rate of inflation. it is not adding to the budget. it is about one third of the total government spending. but it is a little less than the amount in your department every year. most of which is mandatory spending, entitlement spending, which is going up at a rate like that while the rest of the budget is going like this. you will be overseeing medicare and medicaid.
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mental and substance abuse programs. we enacted in december of last year and the president signed the most important of that, the programs of that decade. the food and drug administration, we made important changes there, giving them new authority to hire and pay the experts they need to move devices through the fda at a more rapid rate getting those into the medicine cabinets of the doctor's office. that was a number one priority in we passed that into law in december. and then the implementation of obamacare and various proposals to replace it with concrete, practical alternatives.
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to give the american people more choices of lower-cost health insurance. dr. price, i believe you are an excellent nominee for the job. surgeon a practicing for nearly two decades. i read about the resident doctors in training who you taught. you served as medical director of the orthopedic clinic at the memorial hospital. in the house, you were chairman of the budget committee and have been a leader in deliberations over the future of our health care system. so you know the subject very well. one of the first responsibilities you will have is to give us your advice about how to repair the damage the affordable care act has caused so many americans and how to replace it or to replace parts of it, with concrete practical alternatives that give americans more choices of lower cost insurance.
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let me give my view about how we might proceed and during the question & answer session, i will ask you more about your view. following the presidential election, president-elect trump said on 60 minutes that replacement and repeal of obamacare would be done simultaneously. his word. to me, that means at the same time. and then recently speaker of the , house paul ryan said the repeal and replace of obamacare would be done concurrently. and then senator mcconnell said last week that we need to do ins promptly, but "manageable pieces." i am trying to interpret what those words mean. to me, that means obamacare should be finally repealed only when there are concrete tactical reforms in place to give americans access to affordable health care. the american people deserve health care reform done in the right way, for the right reasons.
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in the right amount of time. it is not about developing a quick fix. it is about working toward long-term solutions that work for everyone. one way to think about what simultaneously and concurrently mean is to think about obamacare the same way you think about a collapsing bridge in your hometown. because that is just what is happening with obamacare in my home state and in many other states. according to the tennessee insurance commissioner, the obamacare insurance market in our state is very near collapse. across the country, premiums and co-pays are up and employers have cut jobs in order to afford the mandates of obamacare. medicaid mandates are consuming state budgets one third of , american counties, citizens of federal subsidies have only a single choice of company to buy insurance from on the obamacare exchanges. without quick action next year,
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there may be zero choices on those exchanges. and their subsidies may be worth as much as as a bus ticket in a town where no buses run. in georgia or tennessee was very near collapse the first thing we would do is , send in a rescue crew to repair the bridge temporarily so no one else is hurt. then we would build a better bridge or more accurately in the case of health care, many bridges to replace the old bridge. and finally, when the new bridges are finished, you would close the old bridge. that is how i suggest we proceed. rescue those trapped in a collapsing system. replace the system with functional markets. market or markets as states , develop their own plans for providing access to truly affordable health care.
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then repeal obamacare for good. first, we should offer rescue plans so 11 million americans who buy individual insurance now, can continue to do so while we build a better set of concrete, practical alternatives. second, we should build better systems, providing americans with more choices of insurance that cost less. note that i say systems, not one system. if anyone is expected senator mcconnell to roll a wheelbarrow on to the senate floor with a 4000 page copper has a comprehensive republican health care plan, they will be waiting a long time because we do not believe in that we do not want to replace a failed washington, d.c. health care system with another failed washington, d.c., health care system. so we will provide america with more choices of insurances that cost less and we will do this by moving more health care decisions out of washington dc and into the hands of states and
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patients there, thereby reducing taxes. we will do this carefully and step-by-step so it is effective. finally, we should then repeal what remains of the law that did the damage and created all of this. i know the president-elect has said that after you are confirmed, which i hope is early in february, that he will propose a plan in congress. i look forward to that. and i know that you cannot tell us us what the plan is today. but i do look forward to hearing from you how you suggest we approach this. we want to do it right and do -- and we want to sequence these events carefully and adequately so americans have concrete practical alternatives in place of what is there today. we want to make sure that the parts of obamacare that are repealed are replaced before the repeal becomes effective. senator murray.
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sen. murray: thank you very much, chairman alexander, and all of our colleagues joining us today. congressman price, congratulations on your nomination. and thank you to your wife who is here with you, as well. before i speak about this nominee, i want to say that we remain deeply disappointed in last night, where democrats were blocked from asking more than one round of questions. , the nominee for secretary of education. and disappointed that we are rushing this hearing as well. mr. chairman, you said 7 minutes but i will just say, i do not think any of us in prior nominees that you keep pointing to ever thought if i don't ask , for another question, i have just set a precedent. i think there is no example of any senator asking to do a question before and being turned down. so these nominees in the new
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administration, that many people have questions about, deserve to be asked questions, scrutinized in public before we have a choice to make on the floor of the senate on both sides of the aisle in terms of whether we vote yes or no. that is why we take it is -- think it is extremely important that we are allowed the opportunity to ask second rounds of questions after we have heard all of the questions. and today, we have 3 or four committee hearings going on at the same time. it is extremely challenging, in on aallenging to be here subject that we care deeply about. i would like to point out again that several nominees that have come before, if we're going to that, secretary leavitt, a nominee of the bush administration five bipartisan
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, senators participated in a second round. the president nominee's obama's first secretary. again, it is unprecedented for a chairman to turn down a member who has a question to ask. so for the record i would like , to ask consent to put parts of the record of the nominees of michael leavitt, and tom daschle into the record of the hearing. mr. chairman: that would be fine. sen. murray: again, our members have questions because this nominee is going to have jurisdiction over the health care and lives of millions of americans and we want to know where he stands before we make a decision, yes or no, for him to be there. so that is why it is so important to members of our committee. having said that, i want to say the health of our families and communities could not the more -- could not be more important to our strengths as a nation. when a young child goes to school healthy and ready to learn, she is better prepared. when women are empowered to
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plan their families and pursue all of their dreams, our community benefits. when workers asked for quality access to have quality health care that they can afford, our economy grows. and when seniors are able to trust that the guarantee of programs they have paid into, medicare and social security will be there when needed, we live up to some of our most vital responsibilities. the department of health and human services has a critical workto play in our ongoing to meet each of these goals and many more. that is why evaluating a nominee for secretary of health and human services, i consider whether the nominee has a record of putting people first and not politics or partisanship or those at the top, whether they will put science first and not ideology, and whether their vision for the health care in our country would help more families get quality health care
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or take us backward. congressman price, i have serious concerns about your qualifications and plans for the department you hope to lead. and i am looking forward to hearing from you today on a number of topics. i start by laying out issues of what your record suggests about your approach to our nation 's health care system. just last week, you voted to begin the process of ripping apart our health care system without any plan to replace it , despite independent studies showing that nearly 30 million people would lose health care coverage. even though more and more members of your own party are expressing serious doubt about its ability to unify around a plan and knowing in a matter of weeks, you could be leading the department whose core responsibility is to enhance america's health and well-being. my constituents are coming up to me with tears in their eyes , wondering what the future holds for their health care given the chaos republican efforts could cause. president-elect trump and republican leaders have promised
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the american people that their plans to dismantle the health care plan right away would do no harm and not lose anyone to lose coverage. just days ago, president-elect trump promised insurance for everybody. but congressman price, your own proposal would cause millions of people to lose coverage and force many people to pay more for their care and leave people with pre-existing conditions vulnerable to insurance companies rejecting them or charging them more. i would be interested in hearing your explanation of how you have your plans for how we can keep the promises your party has made to the american people about their health care. medicare is another issue i would be interested in hearing about today. president-elect trump campaigned on promises to protect medicare and medicaid. you have said you plan to overhaul medicare in the first 6-8 months in this
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administration, in a way that would end the guarantee of full coverage that so many people and -- so many people with disabilities would rely on. policies put forward that would shift one chilean dollars in medicaid costs to our state, squeezing their budgets and taking coverage away from struggling children and workers and families. while president-elect trump has said medicare should be able to negotiate prices for seniors, you have opposed efforts to do that and went so far as to call legislation on that issue a solution in search of a problem. i disagree. it is absolutely critical for families in my home state, and i am eager to learn how you will reduce the burden of prescription drug costs in our community. as a woman, mother, grandmother, and united states senator, i am
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deeply troubled by the ways you r policies would impact women's access to health care and reproductive rights. and i have serious concerns about your understanding of women's need for basic health care like birth control, given your expressed doubts on the topic. your proposals to make women pay extra, out of pocket for birth control, and your repeated efforts to defund our nation 's largest provider of women's health care, planned parenthood. i am also very focused on the role of the department of health and human services in strengthening and protecting public health. i want to hear from you about whether and how you will uphold the gold standard of fda approval and, for example, how would you approach important programs and rules intended to keep tobacco companies from luring children. -- into addiction. finally as i discussed in the hearing yesterday, i believe firmly that especially as the president-elect tries to blur lines around conflict of
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interest, it is critical we not only do everything in our power to hold him to high standards , but we do the same for cabinet nominees. that is why i was so appalled that with 4 of the president-elect's nominees currently serving in the house of representatives, house republicans attempted right out of the gate to get rid of the independent office of congressional ethics. luckily, they heard loud and clear from people across the country that it was not acceptable and they backed down. congressman price the office of , congressional ethics has now been asked not only by democrats , but by consumer advocacy group public citizen to investigate serious concerns and questions about your medical stock trades during your time in the house. i and other democrats have repeatedly called for hearings on your nomination to be delayed until such an investigation is complete. it is disappointing to us that instead, republicans are moving forward with your nomination before we have all the facts.
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i hope you have come prepared to be fully transparent with us in your explanation. i have outlined a few of my questions and concerns about this nomination. i know in light of republican efforts, to take our health care system in a vastly different and harmful direction, that are shared by millions of people across the country that cannot be here today. it is crucial that the voice of the people who will be impacted every day by choices made under this administration are part of the process when it comes to the president-elect's cabinet nominees. i want to say i am pleased that tomorrow, senator warren will host a forum with witnesses who can speak to the impact of health care providers, like planned parenthood. the importance of the work done to expand access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment, and the ways in which
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the full guarantee of medicare helps keep them financially and physically secure. there are stories across the country of lives saved and strengthened because of the progress we have made to expand quality affordable health care. i urge my republican colleagues to attend and prioritize what is best for women and men and families, not what is best for politics, as they consider each of the decisions in the coming weeks. congressman price, as we begin this hearing, i would ask you to be as transparent and frank as possible about your views and your plans for the department and urge you to provide us with additional information and answers, to any follow-up questions we have, in a timely manner. i look forward to what i hope will be a rigorous and open discussion today and i hope the, -- hope that we all arrived to the right decision for the families and communities that we serve. mr. chairman: thank you.
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senator introduce isaacson, i would like to put into the record the information from the last six hearings, without going into detail, one round of questions for the current secretary. and one round with one member, a second round. -- oh, one round plus three. leavitt, six members asked a second round. thompson, one round of seven minutes each. my decision is rather than give six of 23 members a second round, that it would be better to let every senator have 7 minutes. now, senator isaacson. sen. isaacson: thank you. i would like to ask consent of
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the remarks. -- remarks be put into the record, because i will not read them. i have the unique honor and privilege to introduce a friend of mine for 30 years, someone i know to be a great politician, a great practicing legislator, a great family man and a great friend of mine and it is an honor to do so. i want to thank each of you today for listening to what tom has to say, because i think you will be impressed with what you hear. i approach the introduction, if i am being asked what i would look for in somebody that i want $1 billion, the quality of health care and the future of america quality of health care -- i look for 5 things. first, does this man understand the american family? not only does he, but his wife
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that he does. stand up. she will tell you he understands the family. his son, robert, is not here because he is singing country music and writing country music songs. he is a fine young man i enjoy working with. tom is a great family man. remember a member of the united , methodist church, active in his community, doing what is right for his community, he is a man who understands the value of health care to every family. $1 trillion is a lot of money, 1.1 trilliony million dollars. it is a lot of money. he has been chairman of the budget committee. he has led appropriations for many years. and he has run one of the largest medical practices in the state of georgia. tom price put together what is known as resurgence orthopedics, they happened to be my doctors and in fact they saved my son's right leg in a car accident. it is a practice set up as an example of how to do medicine in the 21st century.
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i want to know that my nominee understands the health care business pattern -- care business. who better to understand than a doctor? even better, a doctor married to another doctor? they met and fell in love during their residencies. love with the practice of medicine. i have watched them participate in activities for the state. whether elected or not, they contributed to the betterment of our state. center largest medical in the state of georgia, saving lives every single day. it would not have been it today if it were not for people like tom price, who gave time and effort to raise the money necessary to keep it open. they have some experience with the legislature because if you get a human services to come in and convinced them of that we need to do to change the law, that is a tall order. you want to find some who served
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-- someone who has served in public office. tom was the first elected republican leader of the georgia state senate in the citizenry of our state. and he improved the sixth leftict remarkably, when i and he replaced me. the intellectual level went way up when he came. i promise you. he has been reelected seven, six times to the house of representatives as budget chairman, study committee chairman and an active member of the united congress to the united states of america. i want to also know if you would be -- believe in accountability. tom price believes in accountability, one of the rare ones. he may be the only one of us and i know it is true, that reads all the bills. when i need to know something about the bill, rather than read, i call tom price because i know he has read it. sometimes he is boring, but he is always knowledgeable. [laughter] it is because he does his homework and he does it right and he believes in his responsibility. i want to mention a couple of
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things that have been said negatively about him, because they are wrong. chuck schumer took this case of zimmer biomed, a stock that tom 's manager managed for him. it is called desperate empires impact, where you take two fax -- facts that are unrelated, put them together to indict someone for a wrong, when nothing was wrong. zimmer biomed, the stock purchase, took place without tom's knowledge. his account is managed by someone else. his knowledge was one month later and he did not know about it at the time it was made, so the allegations that were made yesterday on the floor of the senate are wrong by taking to -- two correct things and putting them together to make
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incorrect things. second, something has been said that i have working knowledge of, tom was accused of not being supportive of saving social security for seniors. i am 72-years-old and i would not talk about someone disapproving of social security. i have got some of it. let me tell you a story. tom price and i got a phone call 8 months ago from aarp asking if we were traveling to townhall forums on saving social security. now why would somebody call tom be on a congressman, to the road speaking at town halls to save social security if they do not want to save social security? lastly, one of the best votes i cast four years ago for cabinet members was for sylvia burwell. when she came forward and the committee onate the house, she is an articulate and intelligent lady. there was a lot of reason for me as a republican in the minority to vote against her because she
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is a democratic nominee, but i listened to her answers, studied her history, watched her actions, and i proudly voted for her. and today, she is a professional friend of mine and we will miss her in her office. but there is no one better qualified to replace soviet sylvia burwell than tom price. i voted for her with pride and i am going to vote for tom price with pride because i know he is the right man for the job. the right time for america. he is my friend and i commend him and i urge you to vote for him. mr. chairman: thank you, senator isakson. much better than whatever was written for you to say. dr. price. dr. price: thank you, mr. chairman. all members of the committee, i want to thank you for the
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opportunity to speak with you today and engage and as the ranking member said about the discussion about the road ahead for our great nation, i want to thank senator isakson for his great introduction. am grateful for his friendship, kindness, and our state is blessed to have had his service and his leadership. i also wish to thank my wife, who has been with me for 33 years, and her love means more to me than i could ever say. over the past few weeks, i met with many of you individually and have gained a real appreciation for the passion you have for the department of health and human services. please know that i share that passion. that is why i'm here today and why i am honored to be the nominee for secretary of health and human services. we all come to public service in our own unique ways that in form who we are and why we serve. my professional calling was to first care for patients. that experience as a position
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-- as a physician and later as a legislator has provided a holistic view of the complex interactions that take place every day across our communities. today, i hope to share with you, how my experience has helped shape me and my understanding and appreciation for the work of the department of health and human services. from an early age, had an interest in medicine. my earliest memories are of growing up on a farm in the state of michigan. we lived on a farm in michigan before we moved to suburban detroit. i spent most of my formative years being raised by a single mom, and some of my fondest memories are spending time with my grandfather a physician. , when i was young, we would spend weekends with him and we would go on rounds, which at that time meant house calls, so we would drive up to houses and the memories i have of individuals opening the door and welcoming him graciously are cemented in my mind. after graduating from medical school from the university of michigan, i moved to atlanta,
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which i have called home for 40 years. that is where i met my wife, we that is where i met my wife, we raised our son, and i did a residency at emory university and grady memorial hospital, returned to serve as the medical director of the orthopedic clinic. throughout my career, i treated patients in all walks of life, including so many children. anyone who has treated a child knows the joy you have when you are able to tell the mom and dad that we have helped saved their child or helped their child back to helpfulness. my memories at grady are full of the gracious comments of patients and parents with a team of health care specialist had the privilege of working. after 25 years of school and training, i started a work practice. over the years, practice grew, as senator isakson mentioned, and became one of the largest nonacademic orthopedic groups in the country, for which i would serve as chairman of the board. during 20 years as a practicing physician, i learned a good
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bit about not just treating patients with about the broader health care system and where it intersects with government. a couple of vivid memories stand out. one, many of my patients were never more irritated or angry when they recognized that there was somebody else in the exam room, not physically, but figuratively, who is getting between the doctor and the patient and making decisions, whether the insurance company or government. and then there was the day that i noticed my office, the mid 1990's, when i realized there were more individuals behind the door where the clinical work was going on seeing patients than in front of the door, and those folks were filling out forms and making certain that we were checking all the boxes and either challenging are arguing with insurance companies or the government about what was in the best interest of the patient. it became clear to me that our health-care system was losing focus on its number one priority, and that is the patient. as a result, i felt compelled to broaden my role in public
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service and help solve the issues harming the delivery of ran for the i georgia state senate. i found the state senate in georgia to be remarkably bipartisan and collegial relationships were the norm. this is the environment i learned to legislate, reaching across the aisle to get work done. in congress, i was fortunate to be part of the collaboration that broke through party lines to solve problems. this past congress, there was a bipartisan effort that succeeded in ridding medicare of a broken physician payment system and has begun the creation of a new system that if implemented properly, will help ensure that seniors have better access to higher quality care. if confirmed, my obligation would be to carry to the department of health and human services both been appreciation for bipartisan team driven policymaking in what has been a lifetime commitment to improving the health and well-being of the american people. that commitment extends to what
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i call the six principles of health care, affordability, accessibility, quality, responsiveness, innovation, and choices. the health and human services is more than health care. there are real heroes of the department doing incredible work safe, developod new drugs and treatment options, driven by scientists, conducting remarkable research. they are heroes among the talented dedicated men and women working to provide critical social services, helping families and children have a higher quality of living and the opportunity to rise up and achieve their american dream. the role of health and human services and improving lives means they must carry up responsibilities with compassion, efficient and effective and accountable. as well as willing to work with those in communities already doing incredible work on behalf of their citizens. the cross the spectrum of issues and services that the department handles, there endures a promise
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that has been made to the american people. we must strengthen our resolve to keep the promises our society has made to a senior citizens, and to those most in need of care and support, and that means saving and strengthening and securing medicare for today's beneficiaries and future generations. it means ensuring our nation's medicaid population has access to the highest quality care, maintaining and expanding america's leading role in american medical innovation and treatment of radical disease. i show your passion for these issues, having spent my life in service to them. there's no doubt we do not all agree or share the same point of view when it comes to addressing every one of these issues. our approaches to policies may differ but surely, there exists a common commitment to public service and compassion. we all hope that we can help improve the lives of the american people to help heal individuals and whole communities, so with a healthy dose of humility and an appreciation for the scope of
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the challenges before us, with your assistance and what god's will, we can make it happen, and i look forward to working with you to do just that. mr. chairman, thank you. mr. for the opportunity to be with you today. >> we will begin a round of seven minute questions and i begin questioning -- let's hear about the affordable care act and health-care system. my belief is that the historic mistake in passage of the affordable care act was it sought to expand the system that already cost too much. what is our goal here of those who want to repair the damage of obamacare and replace parts of it? is it to lower the cost of insurance for americans? it is to give them more choices of that lower-cost insurance? and is it to put more decisions in the hands of states and into the hands of patients?
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dr. price: thank you, mr. chairman. certainly the issues you raise , with the choices and access and cost are at the heart and center of where we ought to be putting our attention. as i mentioned in the six principles i have for health care, affordability is incredibly important. it is no good if you cannot afford health coverage and accessibility is absolutely imperative. today, many folks have coverage but they don't have care because they don't have access to the positions they would like to see. choices are vital. mr. chairman: isn't one of the primary means for achieving those choices moving more health care decisions out of washington and putting them back in the hands of states and patient consumers? dr. price: in many instances, the closer you can have those decisions to the patient, keeping the focus on the patient, the better. mr. chairman: if responsibilities are headed toward the states, would that not necessarily involve a fair amount of extensive consultation
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with governors and state insurance departments about how to do that and what implementation schedule ought to be? dr. price: absolutely. folks at the state level know their populations better than we can know them. mr. chairman: senator mcconnell said obamacare would be replaced and appealed and manageable pieces. i want to suggest pieces on a chart back here. looks to me there are four major areas where americans get our health care insurance and when -- one is medicare. 18% of americans. one is employer insurance, 60 1% -- 61% of americans get their insurance on the job. one is medicaid, and -- which is 22%, and one is the individual market, only 6%, and the exchanges we hear about are only 4% of that 6% but that is where so much of the turmoil is. let me ask, is this the bill to reform medicare? dr. price: absolutely not.
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mr. chairman: so we would focus on employer medicaid and individual insurance. are those accurate categories or would you categorize them in a different way? >> the challenges are to address if they are in the individual or medicaid market. mr. chairman: is it possible to work on one of those areas at the time rather than in the -- in a comprehensive -- or let me put it this week, don't expect senator mcconnell to wheel and a wheelbarrow with a big, conference of republican health care plan and that is because in my opinion, we don't believe in are placing the failed washington, d.c. health care plan with their own failed plan. we want to work on it step by step, large piece by piece. how do you respond to that? dr. price: i think that is fair. for individuals -- the american people need to appreciate that
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the last thing we want to do is go from a democrat health care system to a republican health care system. our goal is to go from what we see as a democrat health care system to an american health care system that recognizes the needs of all. mr. chairman: i know your plan will not be presented until after you are confirmed, but the president-elect has said let's do a repeal and replace simultaneously. to me, that must mean that any repeal of parts of obamacare would not take effect until after some concrete, practical alternative for in place for americans to choose. is that accurate or do have a different idea of what simultaneous might mean or what the sequencing might be as we move through this process? dr. price: i think it is fair. one of the important things we need to convey to the american people is that nobody is interested in pulling the rug out from under anybody. we believe that it is imperative that individuals who have health coverage be able to keep health
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coverage and hopefully move to greater choices and opportunities for them to gain the coverage they want for themselves and families. i think there has been a lot of talk about individuals losing health coverage and that is not our goal nor our desire or plan. mr. chairman: let me ask you about how long it will take, repairing the damage, working on these three big areas, individual market, medicaid and employer. my sense of it is we have been working on this so long, although we have different opinions about this, we ought to make most of our votes in the next months about what to do but that the implementation of whatever we decide, especially since it will be going some of it back to the states, the department you hope to lead, my take several years, is there a difference between the boats and -- the votes we might take and then a longer time of implementation of what we do?
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dr. price: i think it is fair. i would point out that our health care system is continually evolving and shade. -- and it should. we ought to be always looking at how it is working, whether it is working for patients, and whether it is working for individuals who are working to provide the highest quality care for folk's. when it is, that is fine. when it isn't, that is incumbent on policymakers to make sure to do the kinds of things to adjust that policy so it can work, especially for patients. mr. chairman: my last question is about the 6% individual market, obamacare exchanges are about 4% of all of us who have insurance. our insurance commissioner in tennessee says the market is virtually collapsing. i am told by many people that we need to basically have a rescue plan, a reform plan for the individual market in place by march 1. so that insurance companies who make their decisions by the year 2018 can make those plans so that people have insurance to
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these states. do you agree that the market is collapsing and we need a rescue plan and that march 1 is an important approximate date for decision of action? dr. price: we are seeing changes in individual and small group work its adverse to the patient, whether it is decreasing access to coverage, increasing premiums, higher deductibles, something is going badly wrong out there, and it is imperative for us to recognize that and put in place the kinds of solutions that we believe to be most appropriate. mr. chairman: and your plan that we are likely to see in february will include recommendations for how to do that? dr. price: should i be given the honor of leading health and human services we look forward , to working with congress to come forward with the plan. mr. chairman: thank you, dr. price. senator murray? senator murray: i would like to put a letter from chairman alexander on the importance of a second round of questions on this nominee, and ask the consent to for the record, 25 lenders signed by organizations opposing congressman price's
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nomination to lead the department of health and human services, and have a petition signed by 500,000 people from across the country opposing this nomination and i asked to put it in record. mr. chairman: it will be. senator murray: recent reports about your investments in the australian biotech company raises some serious questions about your judgment, and i want to review the facts. you purchased stock in a therapeutic company working to develop new drugs on four separate occasions between january 2015 in august 2016 and you made the decision to purchase that stock, not a broker, yes or no? dr. price: that was a decision i make, yes. senator murray: you are offered the opportunity to purchase stock at a lower price than the general public, yes or no? dr. price: the initial purchase
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in january of 2015 was at the market price. the secondary purchase in june through august, september of 2016 was at a price available to individuals participating in a private placement offering. senator murray: lower than available to the general public, correct? dr. price: i do not know that it was, it was the same price that they had for the private place offering. >> congressman chris collins is both an investor and board member of the company, and he was reportedly overheard just last week on the house floor bragging about how he had made people millionaires from a stock tip. congressman price, in our meeting, you informed me you made the purchases based on conversations with representative collins, is that correct? dr. price: no. senator murray: that is what you said to me in my office. dr. price: what i believed i said to us that is what i want -- i learned of the company from
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congressman collins. senator murray: i recall you had a conversation with collins and then decided to purchase the stock. dr. price: that is not correct. senator murray: that is what i remember you say in my office. in that conversation, did representative collins tell you anything that could be considered "a stock tip," yes or no? >> i do not believe so, no. senator murray: if you are telling me he gave you information in a conversation, and you bought those shares, that is not a stock tip? dr. price: that is not one happened. he talked about the company and the work they were doing and tried to solve the problem of secondary scoliosis, a debilitating disease and when i had the opportunity to treat patients -- senator murray: i am aware of that. dr. price: and it has a significant merit and promise and purchased the initial shares on the stock exchange. senator murray: congressman price, i have limited time. your purchases occurred while
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the 21st century cures act, which had several provisions that could impact drug developers like in eight -- in nate immunotherapy therapeutics and days before you notify to have a final vote on the bill. do believe it is appropriate for a senior member of congress actively involved in policymaking in the health sector to repeatedly, personally invest in a drug company that could benefit from those actions, yes or no? dr. price: that is not what happened. senator murray: let me say i believe it is inappropriate and we need answers to this regarding whether you and congressman collins used your access to nonpublic information when you bought at prices and available to the public. dr. price: i had no access to nonpublic information. senator murray: well, we were -- we will go on. congressman price, lastly, you and republicans in congress voted to begin ripping apart our health care system, which would
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cause nearly 30 million people to lose their coverage and raise health care costs for families, without time the -- without telling the american people what you planned to do instead. president-elect trump and republicans in congress have promised to deliver a plan that prevents anyone from losing coverage and leaves no one wears -- worse off. just days ago, president-elect trump said his plan would provide insurance for everybody. do you share those goals? dr. price: i think it is imperative we have a system in place that has patients at the center and allows for every single american to have the opportunity to gain access for the coverage they want. senator murray: you share his goal of insurance for everybody? dr. price: that has always been my stated goal to what i worked on my entire public career. senator murray: if you repeal plan was signed into law, would you consider these commitments to ensure all americans live no -- and leave no one were solved to be met? dr. price: the goal of the bills that i have worked on in
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congress and understanding the role that and give -- senator murray: i asking -- dr. price: my role in congress was to make certain individuals had the opportunity to gain access to the kind of coverage that they desired and that they had the financial feasibility to do so. that is what is different about the plans are put forward. senator murray: i think it is important we have clear answers, so let me just say this. your bill only allows people at -- with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance if they maintained continuous insurance for 18 months prior. millions of americans at the existing health conditions lacked health insurance and under your plan, they could deny those americans coverage for pre-existing conditions, yes or no, under your bill? dr. price: it is a broader question because we would put in high-risk pools and individual health pools that would allow every individual in the small group individual market and those challenge of facing on this to gain access to the coverage they want, so he -- we believe through the plan that every single person would have the opportunity and financial feasibility to get the coverage that they want.
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senator murray: we disagree on the consequences of that. your bill would repeal coverage -- dependent coverage available to adults up to age 26, correct? dr. price: the bill i authored did not include coverage of to age 26, the insurance companies said they were working that and including that in their plans going forward, so we felt it was covered. senator murray: your bill takes away current benefits, which include prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse disorder benefits and maternity coverage, among others, correct? dr. price: it is different in the legislative arena than administrative, but we would put factors in place that would measure individuals have the care and coverage needed. senator murray: i disagree with the consequences but your bill did not cover that. your bill also repeals the lifetime limits on coverage that helps a lot of people who are
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sick and have high medical expenses like a person with cancer, yes or no? dr. price: again, a larger question because we would put a different construct in place that would allow every single person to gain access to the coverage they want and have nobody fall through the cracks. senator murray: just with these questions, i'm concerned your vision for a health care system is very different and when i think millions of americans are accounting on. mr. chairman: thank you. senator enzi? senator enzi: thank you, mr. chairman and dr. price for being willing to serve and go through this process. i call this gotcha management. nothing is barred and the idea is to get you to take questions on short notice, and public, that you would not have done what you normally do. i worked with you for the last
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two years, immediately do at -- meeting at least once a week. i appreciate how comprehensively you think about the medical things. one of my concerns is the rural areas because wyoming is the most rural state in the nation. i hesitate to do that because last night at the education hearing, i got to hear from mrs. devos, who remembered a conversation from a month before that i had on the rural problem, which dealt with grizzly bears i school in wyoming and that became a major topic around here. i am glad everybody recognizes
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that need and concern. part of the story was that that is the grade school that former senator craig thomas went to, and when he was there, they did not need that fence because he was tough. [laughter] but there are different kinds of problems in different places in the health care area. i have a county that is the size of delaware. it has one community that would like to say it has 2500 people. it does have a hospital, but when you have a rural community and a rural county that big, with that small of the town, .t's difficult to keep the dog without at least a pa, the hospital has to close. if that hospital closes, emergency care is 80 miles away. not a likely story and most of the places and we need to make sure those things are covered. i've appreciated getting to share those with you over the period of time.
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i was always curious as to why you had left a very successful practice and were willing to come back here to try to make a difference and i want to congratulate you on the difference you have made. now, one of the questions i would ask you is why are you willing to leave a place with so much responsibility and background and capability to be willing to be the secretary of health and human services? rep. price: thank you, senator. when i think about the mission of the department of health and human services to improve the health, safety, and well-being of the american people, it's what i've literally spent my life trying to do, so to have the opportunity to participate, if confirmed, to service the -- to serve as the secretary of
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health and human services and try to guide that organization in a direction that would further fulfill that mission, i can't think of anything more fulfilling or exciting. senator enzi: i think you have the background for doing that, given your background in the wide range of hospitals and practices and then coming here and going through a number of different committee situations. what you are about to go through is a rather intense and that is followed by the most productive part, if senators happened to read the answers, and that is when we get to do written questions, which we hope you will provide a rapid response on. those are not nearly as much fun for the panelists because they are not in public. i will move to some questions that are a little bit more related here. we begin the serious and challenging task of restoring the health insurance markets, which are teetering on the brink.
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some are collapsing. some counties, you can't get coverage. in wyoming, there is only one provider and it is my understanding that the incoming administration may have the ability to make key policy changes, some of the most critical changes for short-term stabilization might include reducing the number of special enrollment periods and requiring upfront verification or aligning grace periods with state law. my understanding from those in the insurance business is it is targeted actions by health and human services may provide meaningful changes that could impact premiums for the next year. are those some options you might consider? rep. price: absolutely. the insurers are deciding right now as they come forward in march and april with the premium levels will be for 2018. what they need to hear from all of us is a level of support and
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stability in the market, the kinds of things that are able to provide stability. you mentioned that there are counties in the state where there are only one provider. one third of the counties in this country only have one insurance provider. we must, as policymakers, ask what is going on. where are the problems out there? that may work for the insurers in certain instances, but it does not work for patients. if we keep the patients at the center, we will get to the right answer. senator enzi: i appreciate that. i got to work for years with senator kennedy on biologics.
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the fda has issued guidance documents since the law passed. they have not set policy on interchangeability with the referenced product. i was concerned that in 2017, having gone near death through having gone through nearly two presidential terms, we finally got a draft. i will ask that question in writing. rep. price: thank you very much. senator sanders: thank you, mr. chairman, congressman price, thank you for the conversation we had the other day. congressman, on may 7, 2015, let me begin by saying all of us know that we have come through a very unusual election process -- president-elect trump received almost 3 million votes less than secretary clinton, but he won
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the electoral college, he will be inaugurated this week. he won a number of states by rather slim margins. during the course of his campaign, mr. trump said over and over again that he would not cut social security, not cut medicare, not cut medicaid. let me read some quotes. on may 7, 2015, he tweeted, "i was the first and only potential gop candidate to state there would be no cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid . on april 18, he said "every republican wants to do a big number on social security, they want to do it on medicare, they want to do it on medicaid, and we can't do that and it is not fair to the people who have been paying in for years." august 10, "i will save medicare, medicaid, and social
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security without cuts -- we have to do it, people have been paying in for years and many of these candidates want to cut it." march 29, 2016, "paul ryan wants to knock out social security, knock it down, way down, he wants to knock medicare down, way down, number one, you were going to lose the election if you are going to do that, i'm not going to cut it, i'm not going to raise ages, i'm not going to do all of the things they want to do, they want to cut it very substantially, i'm not going to do that." point being, this is not something he said in passing. i think it is likely he won the election because millions of working class people and senior citizens heard him say he would not cut social security, medicare, and medicaid. a simple question. is the president-elect going to keep his word to the american
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people and not cut social security, medicare, and medicaid or did he lie to the american people? rep. price: i have not had extensive discussions with them about the comments he made, but i have no reason to believe that he has changed his position. exe conversations with him, but i have no reason to believe that he has changed his position. >> you are telling us that you do not believe that mr. trump will cut social security and medicaid? >> i do not believe that has changed. week, he said that pharma is getting away with murder. there are many of us who are working on legislation that would do two things. end theabsurdity --
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absurdity of the american people getting ripped off. one out of five americans cannot afford to fill a prescription. will you join us in the legislation that we are working on that will allow medicare to negotiate prices with the drug andanies and lower prices allow the american people to bring in less expensive medicine from canada and other countries? price: this is important to all americans and we have had costs be significantly less than they have been. >> we don't have a lot of time. we are playing the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. do you disagree? >> there are a lot of reasons
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for that and, if we get to the root causes, we can solve that. >> one of the causes is that every other major country on earth negotiates with the pharmaceutical industry. raise pricess can and double prices. so that work with us medicare negotiates prices with the pharmaceutical industry? >> you have my commitment to work with you and others to make sure that the pricing is reasonable and that individuals have access to the medication they need. >> that was not an answer to the question i asked. congressman price, the united states of america is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. canada and every major country in europe does it. do you believe that this is the
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right of all americans? should people be able to go to the doctors when they need to and go to the hospital because they are americans? >> we are a compassionate society. >> no, we are not. we have the highest rate of childhood poverty and half of our senior citizens have nothing set aside for retirement. i don't think we are particular compassionate. canada, do you believe that we should move in that direction? >> if you want to talk about other health care systems, there are consequences and i believe american hasngle access to the highest quality care and coverage possible.
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>> does that mean they are guaranteed health care? to buying a home and do not have the money to do it. >> we believe it is appropriate to give people a system that gives them financial feasibility to purchase cover and not what the government forces them to buy. welcome to the committee. beave found you to always knowledgeable and upfront. very straightforward and honest, somebody who understands the system of the country. you are perfectly situated to turn this around. you hear a lot from the other side about how bad the system is. . don't think it is great we have to work on it to get it
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done right. premierone of the people in this congress and the world to understand what needs to be done and you recognize the problems of getting it done. some colleagues have criticized you for your health-related stock holdings while serving in the house will stop house rules do not prohibit -- in the house. house rules do not prohibit members from owning stocks. on there members committee who have traded individual stocks while serving on this committee and this appears to be a hypocritical attack on your character. i resented. -- resent it. you traded stocks while serving
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as a member of congress. >> everything i do is above board and legal. calleds an organization the office of government ethics that looks at every cabinet nominee and all of the possessions and holdings, making about what then cabinet member must do to have no conflicts of interest. -- has beenhen advice given to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. we have read those agreements and sign them. everybody is certain that there will be no conflict of interest. >> you followed the advice. >> absolutely. the collapse -- >> the collapse of obamacare has exacerbated
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problems. are cost prohibitive measures. i don't think that you can lose sight of the broader health system. it prevents investment in innovative therapy and this is an issue that i am deeply passionate about. how you address the desperate needs. >> years ago -- really, it was revolutionizing the ability to treat rare diseases and it made the united states a leader in coming forward with treatments for rare
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diseases. i think that there are things that we can do, in terms of patent attention, liability, theurces, to encourage discovery of cure. >> you put incentives in effect explosion.s an it is important. it was a republican bill. fort was a success story the country. >> one of the central duties of the hhs secretary is to be diligent and thoughtful, when considering federal regulation is necessary. over the years, the regulatory infrastructure on dietary
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supplements has changed. do you recognize the importance of dietary supplements for healthy lifestyles? what's absolutely. >> will you work to ensure appropriate regulations on dietary supplements to protect public health while ensuring that people have access to safe products? >> this is important. you need to gain the information and gather the individuals who know the most about this area, whether it is consumers, those providing the product to the is is doneking sure there right. >> i have to commend to donald trump you. you are clearly a premier person in all of congress to understand
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these problems of health care and you have a professional background. i don't know that any other member of congress can match that. we have a real messy situation here. obamacare has not really helped. do you think it has? some of the things in the passage of the affordable care act has improved some things. include peoples have a coverage but not health care. who decides our health care? thattake it you believe getting health care closer to the people is better than everybody pontificating from washington. the more decisions, the
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higher care we will have. what do you think about this? it is the practice of and it showsicine up in their history. ofif you go into a court law, you can say that to a judge and jury. it in thatlook at can -- in that light, you get to that answer and it has been bipartisan in the past. >> i think that is great.
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>> thank you representative price. -- thank you, representative price. something wehlight don't spend a lot of time highlighting or talking about, and that is the full protections bill, theginal patient protection and affordable care act. we have had a lot of terminology since then. we have a basic disagreements and it is important to be candid about that. earlierrman had a chart that outlined the categories of americans by virtues of various the number of with 178 million
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people and that is a lot of people with coverage who have had coverage before the they didn't have protections. we know that 11 million or 12 million people have purchased through the marketplace. you know from your practice that you meet remarkably inspiring people and we don't take enough time. ritter's, from manheim,
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pennsylvania, she did not have a personal challenge. said -- at that time -- before the passage of the rejected forand having the misfortune of .eveloping cancer as a child her problem was the caps on treatment. the question i would ask, in terms of your work as secretary of health and human services is if you will commit to maintaining protections that ensure that no child is denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions. remarkably challenging.
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so many of those children have had cancer and i would dread was worriede i about the severity of these challenges. this was one of the most uplifting months i spent in medical school, because the .hildren were so uplifting we need to absolutely make certain that every child has access to the care they need and there are a number of ways to do that. i look forward to working with you to make that happen. that we hard to believe have to ask a question about this next topic, which is victims of domestic violence, but it was the state of the law before the passage of legislation that the victims of domestic violence are considered
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americans with a pre-existing come -- pre-existing condition. would you commit to maintaining the protections that ensure that victims of domestic violence will not be discriminated against when they are purchasing health insurance? that thek it is vital victims of domestic violence and others, anybody, we need a system in place for individuals to not get priced out of the market and for individuals who are not able to purchase coverage. >> i have limited time. hung upwant to get about getting priced out of the market. i am asking for a guarantee that that circumstance, that poor or thick circumstance will not prevent coverage, treatment, or ic circumstance will not prevent coverage,
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treatment, or care. -- t will certainly >> i think we can agree on that. there is a protection that prohibits discrimination on the basis of health status or disability. yes or no. >> it is impaired if to have a system that works for patients. anyone who does not get the coverage they want or need is not a system that works. >> more questions. i am getting at the fact that there is a state of the law before the passage of the affordable care act where individuals like that, whether they had a pre-existing condition, paying premiums for say they have a pre-existing condition as a child, women were discriminated against. it is a remarkable stain on
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america that we let this happen. my concern is not just a series of concerns. areas ofcould do is ands in replacement plans it is medicare, and i heard about three targets, the , and thel market subject of change for those protections in place. if you get a run, --
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>> thank you. i appreciate you using your seven minutes ask questions. isaacson defers to senator paul. training and i congratulate you. had gottenybody a chance to work in our biggest charity hospitals. you name it. i remember being there as a an incomtern.
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is important to get somebody who has clear reasoning and skills to be in charge of the government. regret about this is the vitriol, the rancor, and me partisanship. isstioning your motives insulting. question is if you went into this for public service. >> i have a passion for people some think it is a foolish decision for both of us. take a pay cut to go into public service?
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i'm guessing it would have been a pay cut. i think we all want the most amount of insurance for people at the least amount of cost and we want people to get access to health care. what are your motives and what are your goals? do you want more people to be insured or do you think we just disagree on how we do it? >> i try to lay this out earlier , but the principles that are imperative for the health care system is making it affordable and providing access to health care and coverage for everybody. the system is not any good if it is not responding to patients. one that responds to innovation and ensures choices are made and preserved by the patient's.
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republicans have been accused of having no replacement ideas or having no ideas to fix the system. how many bills do you have that would be replacement bills or ways to improve the insurance system? in 2009d a large bill and we have had pieces of legislation to address issues. >> it has been in sin you wait it that america is a rotten place and we don't have compassion. you worked as an emergency room physician. treat all agree to comers, regardless of whether they have an ability to pay? >> anybody who shows up in need of care provided the care, not just in residency, but with
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orthopedic practice. >> those who say we don't have compassion talk about socialism. you look at venezuela, with i think itrces and is important that we have a debate between socialism, communism, america, and capitalism. the extraordinary and thing -- a short nares thing about our country is that we gave away --0 billion to churches through churches and charities. we are a compassionate society and it is often missed placed numbers how much we help each other in our country. most of the physicians in my community have done international charity work.
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people say we are a terrible country and i would argue the thesite, saying that greatness of our country and our compassion, we give away more than the gross to mystic product in socialized countries. with regards to replacement, there are ideas that ensure more people. one is the idea of legalization of all types of insurance. we made it illegal to sell an expensive insurance. do you think it would help to legalize sales of insurance? >> if we have as a principal and a goal this, i believe that they will choose the choices for the full array of opportunities.
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>> do you think health savings accounts will help those who are not helped currently? >> there is coverage that make sense for a lot of individuals, but we should not force anybody to do anything and it should be a voluntary choice to select. >> you have had legislation that i am a supporter of that allowed individuals to buy insurance in groups. alexander talked about the individuals on the market and i have sympathy. ,f an employee was to get sick it would be devastating for the economics of keeping them in for. leading us join together as pools, where we buy it in a group with 100,000 people or a million people, currently the but you had that, bills that expanded that and i
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am a big fan. some people could get insurance who can't. >> these are entities that allow the economically aligned to purchase coverage together, even though they don't necessarily work together. the individual health pools is a secret to solving the market conundrum we are in. it would allow people to fool with anybody for the purchase of health coverage. the model is the blue shield plan that existed decades ago and allowed people to put resources together for medical coverage. sense andkes a lot of it doesn't drive up the cost, because the pool is large enough . >> thank you. you how we get a
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.eally big risk pool it is called medicare for everyone. did you enjoy meeting me? >> i enjoy discussing our hair. >> what is the leading cause of preventable death in the united states? >> you obviously have it in front of you. >> i knew this before i put it on the page. it is smoking. >> that hits home. i lost my dad, who was a lucky strike smoker, to emphysema. he prided himself on the fact that he never smoked a cigarette with a filter and it was a tragedy. >> i lost my dad. know, isician, you may guess you didn't, that smoking
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kills 480,000 americans each in health care costs and, and 2012, you993 were a shareholder of the tobacco companies, meaning that you purchase the -- personally benefited from tobacco sales. you voted against legislation in 2009 that did the fda the authority to regulate tobacco. , you are a price physician. you took the oath to do no harm. how do you square personal gain from the sales of an addictive product that kills millions of americans every decade with voting against measures to
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reduce the death toll in inflicted by tobacco? >> it is an interesting question and a curious observation. i have no idea what stocks i held or even now. all of these decisions are from mutual funds and pension plans. and -- i don't want to bet -- i would suspect that your pension plan has components that are held that has something to do with tobacco. >> i find it hard to believe that you did not know that you had tobacco stocks and i find it , little hard to believe that in the questions about your portfolio, you have said you didn't know things. you traded more than $300,000 in
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health related stocks. at the same time, you advocated legislation that could affect the performance of those stocks. your broker, you say, bought it on march 17, 2016. you did introduce a bill later, a week later on march 23, 2016. you said you did not know then that you have this stock. rules to delay of federal to reduce the profitability of the company's joint -- to delay a rule that would hurt the company. what i don't understand is what you found out your
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broker bought it, you kept the stock. you purchased this $50,000 to $100,000 stock in a biomedical company. the single largest purchase in the past three years. in a private deal that was not made available to the public. i find it absolutely amazing that you responded that you did not know you got a discounted price. that is absolutely amazing. we discussed this. rep. price: by definition i believe that's the nature of a private placement offer. i paid exactly the same price as everybody else. i disclosed it. senator franken: it was a private offering that only went to 20 people, including representative chris collins, his chief of staff in a prominent d.c. lobbyist. you reported $50,000 to $100,000 in profits on this purchase.
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it really begs credulity when you say you did not know you got a discount on this. this was a private offering to a very small number. when you have the chairman of the budget committee, when you have a congressman, his chief of staff, these sound like sweetheart deals. i think our job in this body in congress and in government is to avoid the appearance of conflict. boy, you have not done this. i want to talk just about your latest plan, empowering patients first act. some of it is detailed in this article from the new england journal of medicine. it is called "care for the
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vulnerable versus cash for the powerful." trump's pic for hhs. i will read a random paragraph. "price's record concerns less concern for the sick, before and the health of the public in much greater concern for the economic well-being of their physician caregivers." i would commend this to every member of this committee before making a vote because what your plan does is -- one of the things is against tax credit the -- to buy health insurance. it's no different for someone who is poor, who makes $20,000, $30,000, and bill gates. it is an incredibly regressive system. you talked about ending -- you guys want to end the expansion of medicaid.
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that has people in minnesota scared out of their minds. i've heard a lot about obamacare being a disaster. you have to admit that it has bent the cost curve. that the cost of health care in this country has grown less than it did in the previous 10 years. it is also covered 20 million more people, but forget them. in 2008, i was going around minnesota. in every vfw hall, every cafe, i would see a bulletin board where it would have a burger bash or spaghetti dinner for someone who had gone bankrupt because they had gone to their annual cap or their lifetime cap. i am frightened about what you are going to do and so are
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millions of americans. and, frankly, i know that you do things that help physician groups. you have put in provisions that would prevent these findings by would prevent these findings by efficiency and innovation boards that would have to be cleared by physician groups. i see you as someone who was there for the doctor, and this is a cover -- this is not going to create access for all americans, what you talked about. the empowering patients first act. this will unravel something that has given a lot of americans peace of mind, knowing kids can
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stay on health care until they are 26. knowing that they have, if they have a pre-existing condition, that will not stop them from getting care. that is what this hearing should be about. you are a smart man. >> senator, we are a minute over. senator franken: and my second round i will be a minute short. thank you. >> you may be here by yourself. >> i will be here with him. senator franken: the benghazi hearings were 11 hours, that's all i'm saying. >> senator isakson? senator isakson: do you have any response to senator franken? rep. price: i would just say this is one of the things that makes it difficult to reach a
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solution in washington. the concerns that were expressed by the senator are valid concerns. the conclusions he drew on the policies i promoted and will continue to promote are absolutely incorrect. we all share a concern for the american people and how we best make certain they have access to the highest quality care that the world knows. so, i hope, and i understand why he is doing it. it is a political activity. i understand -- i hope we are able to work together if i'm given the privilege of serving as the secretary of health and human services to truly solve these difficult challenges we have in our nation. senator isakson: isn't it true by may 15 every year since you have served in congress you had to make full disclosure on everything you own, everything
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your wife owns, what it was worth, when it was acquired and sold for? rep. price: the house requires a monthly -- a periodic transaction form. senator isakson: isn't it true that every transaction is available to the public to find in the house ethics committee? rep. price: absolutely. senator isakson: we require you to disclose facts every year? rep. price: there is not a single bit of information out here that i do not reveal to the public in a transparent process. senator isakson: transparency is the antiseptic that creates an environment where there is no corruption? rep. price: sunshine cures disease. senator isakson: you have worked throughout your career in the georgia senate, united states congress, and i'm sure you will as the secretary of hhs to make sure there was always print -- there was always
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transparency? rep. price: it is a hallmark in a key. senator isakson: you love your job and if yet the opportunity to be secretary of health and human heiresses -- human services you will make sure there is never an appearance of conflict whatsoever? rep. price: that's what i'm mentioned the office of government ethics and the diligence they do to look at everybody's holdings and assets who are scheduled to potentially serve in the cabinet. they make a recommendation, a specific recommendation also available to be seen online. we have agreed to every single recommendation they make to the best of whatever holdings we have that might even give the appearance of a possible conflict. senator isakson: i yield back the balance of my time. >> senator bennett? senator bennett: i have never shown any nominee my knee before he came to my office. he gave me some free medical advice. i'm grateful. >> how are you doing?
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senator bennett: terrible. it is not because of you. i know you have been chair of the house budget committee. i know you were a member of the tea party that's a strong advocate of balancing the budget for a stronger america. what i have noticed is after gaining control of the house and senate and white house, the first order of business for the republican majority here has been to pass a budget resolution repealing the aca. this budget resolution specifically authorizes $9 trillion in additional debt over the next 10 years. it also rigs the bill in secret to block any point of order to the bill because that bill will increase the deficit. let me read my colleagues's
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remarks it was duly highlighted in his floors beat on -- floor speech on january 4. "the more things change, the more they stay the same. republicans won the white house, control the senate, control the house." what will be the first order of business? to pass a budget that never balances. to pass a budget that will add $9.7 trillion of new debt over 10 years." this is a facsimile of his chart. "is that really what we campaigned on? is that will be campaigned on." "why would we vote on a budget that adds $9.7 trillion to the debt? because we are in a hurry. we can't be bothered. it is just numbers. i was told again and again to swallow it, take it, they are just numbers. it is not really a budget. yet the legislation says it is a budget. so this is what republicans are for. this is the blueprint that the
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republican party says they are for. $10 trillion worth of new debt. i am not for it." -- honeston this man man. rand paul is right. it overrides to several budget provisions from the senate to prevent increasing the deficit by more than $10 billion, more than $5 billion in years further down the road. are you aware that republican leadership wrote a to this bill that any replacement for the affordable care act would be exempt from senate rules that prohibit large increases to the deficit? rep. price: as you may know, i stepped aside as chairman of the budget committee at the beginning of this year. i was not involved in the writing. senator bennett: you have been the budget committee chairman during the rise of the tea party, you are a member of the tea party caucus, you said over and over again the reason you have come to washington is to
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reduce our deficit and reduce our debt. i assume you are well aware of the vehicle that is being used to repeal the affordable care act. this is not some small piece of legislation. this is the republican's budget. rep. price: yes, i am aware of the bill. senator bennett: do you support a bill that increases the debt by $10 trillion? rep. price: i support the opportunity to use reconciliation to address real challenges in the affordable care act and to make certain we put in place at the same time a provision that allows us to move the health care system in a better direction. senator bennett: do you support the budget passed by the senate republicans? price: the reconciliation bill is yet to come. i support the process that allows for and provides for fiscal year 17 reconciliation
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bill to come forward. senator bennett: but you commit today that any replacement plan for the affordable care act will not in any way contribute to our deficit or debt? rep. price: i commit to working with you to make certain that happens. senator bennett: will you commit as a member of the tea party that no replacement for this dreadful obamacare that allegedly created this deficit and debt will add to the deficit and debt? can you tell the tea party you will not increase the deficit by repealing the affordable care act? rep. price: there are a lot of contributions to the debt. senator bennett: that's true and we talked about that briefly. will you allow the repeal of the health care bill to be one of those contributors to our deficit and debt? the cbo said the repeal of the health care law could increase our deficit by up to $353 billion. that is what they said. senator paul, an honest man, has gone to the floor and said the
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first thing we are doing is passing a budget that increases the deficit by $10 billion. what do you say to the tea party? or more important, people that live in colorado? rep. price: what i say to the folks across this land is of the congressional budget office are in a silo, looking at it as if nothing else happened after the repeal of the affordable care act. if you look at the constellation of things that will occur, and i believe working with every member of congress should i be given the privilege of serving as the secretary, we will make certain it addresses the health care challenges that exist out there that are very real. we look forward to working with you and committing to working with you on being as fiscally responsible as we can possibly be because the debt and deficit is a real challenge. senator bennett: with respect, and i have a lot for you, that is what every politician says about the cbo. the numbers are not true and we just run up the debt and run up the debt. almost the entire theory of case
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here, i think, from the republican party on this subject has been the health care law has increased cost. the law has increased our deficit, our debt. i would hope you can take a pledge today that would say nothing you would advocate for when pass or have they president sign into law that would add one dollar to the deficit or debt. rep. price: i certainly hope that is the case and look forward to working with you to ensure it is. senator bennett: i yield back my time. >> thank you, senator bennett. senator collins? senator collins: i very much enjoyed our discussion on a wide range of health care issues in my office. many of us have expressed concern about what would happen to the millions of americans who are in the individual market of the aca on the exchanges.
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but there has been remarkably little debate on what would happen if congress took no action with regard to the individual market. could you give us your answer as far as what you would see happening to the individual market if we do nothing? rep. price: i appreciate that and the opportunity to come visit you. we had a wonderful conversation about many different areas. the american people know this. they appreciate the individual and small group market were many of the millions gained their coverage is breaking in many ways. we're in a downward spiral on being able to provide individuals the opportunity -- any opportunity at all. one third of counties have just one insurance provider. there are five states that have
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only one insurance provider. the premiums are going up for folks. the deductibles. i get calls weekly from my former fellow physicians who tell me their patients are making decisions about not getting the kind of care they need because they can't afford the deductible. if you're an individual making $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year and your deductible is $6,000 or $12,000 which is not unusual on the exchange, you may have an insurance card with a wonderful name of an insurance company , but you don't have any care because you can't afford the deductible. people are denying themselves the kind of care they need. those are the things we ought to be addressing. again, i hope in a bipartisan way we are able to do that. senator collins: i think that's very important to clarify that in the individual market we are seeing double-digit increases in
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premiums, higher deductibles, larger co-pays and far fewer choices as more and more insurers give up and flee the market. the co-ops have failed dramatically. all 23 of them are in financial trouble. only five are still operating. so for us to say everything is going well with obamacare is just not accurate. that is why i feel we do need to fix the flaws of what is a well-intentioned but deeply problematic law. i want to clarify another issue on the aca. there has been much debate on whether we should repeal the law with no replacement. i think most people reject that idea. as you said, we don't want to pull the rug out from under people who are relying on the insurance that is been provided
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through the aca. another group has advocated repeal with a two or three year delay, i think that also does not work because it creates great anxiety for consumers and insures would be unable to price their policies if they don't know what the rules are going to be. it is my understanding that your goal is to quickly pass a reform package that would provide access to affordable health insurance for all americans with more choices than we have now. is that accurate? rep. price: absolutely. it is vital. we oftentimes don't talk about the 20 million folks that still don't have coverage. there are a lot of people that don't. if we are responsible policymakers and administrators of policy, it is incumbent on us
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to step back and say why is that? what's making that happen for 20 million that don't have coverage despite all these grand things that were done? i suggest the structure of what was done actually makes it virtually impossible for many individuals to gain that kind of coverage. we, i believe it's important we work together to put forward a system that allows every single american to have the opportunity to purchase the coverage they think is best for themselves and their families. senator collins: your goal is actually to have more people covered by insurance? i have been baffled over the years by what cms reimburses for and what it fails to reimburse for. senator jeanne shaheen and i finally scored a victory of getting cms to cover continuous glucose monitors for individuals with diabetes that had been
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covered by the vast majority of private insurers. but when those individuals went to medicare they lost the coverage. it made no sense whatsoever. what i am finding now is that cms frequently does not pay for services that helps to keep people well. there is a large practice in my state that has a nurse or medical center -- with patients with diabetes once a week. they check on their blood levels and diets and exercise regimes. they have had really positive results. the irony is that if diabetes gets out of control and those individuals and of having to have amputations or go blind, cms will pay for that. but it will not pay for the phone call to check on the
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individuals it's helping to control their diabetes and keep them well. will you pledge to take a look at those kind of policies and reevaluate what we do pay for? rep. price: absolutely. it's imperative we are constantly determining if forgetting the outcomes we want and the processes are helping or obstructing those outcomes. senator collins: finally i want to touch on biomedical research, which is a passion of mine. i founded the diabetes caucus in 1997. i'm also the founder of the alzheimer's task force in the senate that senator warner is the cochair. alzheimer's has become our nation's most. -- most expensive disease. it costs society $263 billion a
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year, $150 billion of that coming from medicare and medicaid. it will bankrupt those programs. it is devastating to families and the victims of the disease. diabetes consumes one out of three medicare dollars. if we invest in biomedical research, we have the possibility of not only improving lives for americans and cheering for coming up with an effective treatment for devastating diseases, but also lowering health care costs. do you support the increases for nih that we have passed in the last year and are on track to pass this year as well? rep. price: nih is a treasure for our country in the kind of things we should be doing to find cures for those diseases. one of the core avenues to be able to make that happen is through nih and i supported the increase. senator collins: thank you. that goes along with your principle of innovation. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> we have been at this for about two hours. i will suspend the operation for about five minutes. then we will go to senator whitehouse. just so we can take a little break. the committee is recessed five minutes. >> this nomination hearing with congressman price went on to last another 90 minutes or is


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