Too Pricey …for our fellow Americans

womens_day_2013GOOGLEIt is the mission of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. We fulfill that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.

Does the description of HHS really fit match or give you a positive feeling that he will uphold the mission ?

That’s what anyone who cares about health coverage in America is saying about Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Trump has nominated Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)—who has long led the charge to repeal the Affordable Care Act—to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Rep. Price really hates the ACA. He supported shutting down the government over the ACA; referred to it as tyrannybefore it even became a law; and said it undermined “freedom and liberty” and would turn doctors into slaves. No confirmation yet on whether or not anyone has told him that repealing the law would cause more than 22 million people to lose health coverage.

What sets dr Price apart from many of his fellow anti-ACA House Republicans is he has actually put forward a replacement plan. But his replacement plan wouldn’t come close to providing comparable coverage. First, Rep. Price has said guaranteeing access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is “a terrible idea.” He also supports privatizing Medicare with vouchers that are capped, regardless of price of the plan. That would transfer costs to seniors and come as a shock to Trump supporters who listened when he promised he wouldn’t cut their Medicare benefits. Rep. Price also wants to slash Medicaid funding, which would shift costs to states and lead to millions of beneficiaries losing coverage.
dr Price’s ACA “replacement” would increase costs for older, sicker, and low-income Americans. And the wealthy would get a tax shelter. Read seven reasons Price is unfit to be Secretary of HHS here.

Trump’s Cabinet picks: A rundown of upcoming hearings – By Kaitlyn Burton and Kelsey Tamborrino

capitolsnowclosedJanuary is poised to be a volatile month that’s jam-packed with Senate committee hearings to approve President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks. Here is a look at the nominees and their upcoming hearing schedules.

Week of Jan. 9

Position: Housing and Urban Development secretary
Nominee: Ben Carson
Background: Retired neurosurgeon, former GOP primary rival
Committee: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
Confirmation Hearings: Sen. Mike Crapo is planning to hold a hearing next week
Recent Coverage:
Trump picks Ben Carson to be HUD secretary
Carson’s nonexistent governing experience? Not a problem
Ben Carson: My mom kept us out of public housing to avoid ‘danger’

Tuesday, Jan. 10

Position: Attorney general
Nominee: Sen. Jeff Sessions
Background: Alabama Republican Congressman
Committee: Senate Judiciary
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 10 and 11. More here.
Recent Coverage:
Sessions confirmation hearing dates announced
Sessions looks like a lock for confirmation
7 big areas where Jeff Sessions could change policy at DOJ

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Position: Education secretary
Nominee: Betsy DeVos
Background: Billionaire, philanthropist, Republican megadonor
Committee: Senate HELP
Confirmation hearings: Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. in 430 Dirksen. More here.
Recent Coverage:
Trump selects DeVos as Education secretary
Senate Democrats to portray DeVos as public school enemy
DeVos heads into confirmation with a megadonor’s advantage

Position: Transportation secretary
Nominee: Elaine Chao
Background: Former Labor Secretary under the George W. Bush administration, deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush, member of Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Council for the campaign, married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Committee: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 11 10:15 a.m. in Senate Russell, Room 253. More here.
Recent Coverage:
Elaine Chao tapped to be Trump’s Transportation secretary

Position: Homeland Security secretary
Nominee: John Kelly
Background: Retired Marine general, former U.S. Southern Command chief
Committee: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Confirmation hearings: Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. in SD-342 Dirksen. More here.
Recent Coverage:
Trump officially picks John Kelly to lead DHS
Trump’s DHS pick could be a ‘force for moderation’
Why Trump is so obsessed with generals

Position: Secretary of State
Nominee: Rex Tillerson
Background: CEO of Exxon Mobil
Committee: Senate Foreign Relations
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 11
Recent Coverage:
Trump taps Tillerson for secretary of state
Why Trump picked Rex Tillerson
Tillerson to face off with McCain this week

Thursday, Jan. 12

Position: Commerce secretary
Nominee: Wilbur Ross
Background: Billionaire private-equity investor, founder of the private equity firm WL Ross & Co.
Committee: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Confirmation Hearings: Jan. 12 at 10:00 a.m. More here.
Recent Coverage:
Trump to pick billionaire Wilbur Ross as Commerce secretary
Wilbur Ross’ questionnaire reveals little on potential conflicts of interest
Wilbur Ross’s Chinese Love Affair

Week of Jan. 16

Position: Labor secretary
Nominee: Andy Puzder
Background: CEO of CKE Restaurants, which include the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain
Committee: Senate HELP
Confirmation Hearings: The week of Jan. 16
Recent Coverage:
Trump chooses Puzder as labor secretary
The hidden powers Andy Puzder would hold at the Department of Labor


Position: Health and Human Services secretary
Nominee: Rep. Tom Price
Background: Georgia Republican Congressman, House Budget Chairman
Committee: Senate Finance
Confirmation Hearings: TBD, the HELP Committee is tentatively set to hold a confirmation hearing on Jan. 18. This is a courtesy.
Recent Coverage:
Price picked to lead HHS
Tom Price’s radically conservative vision for American health care

Position: Treasury secretary
Nominee: Steven Mnuchin
Background: Former Goldman Sachs executive, Trump’s national finance chair for the campaign
Committee: Senate Finance
Confirmation Hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump to pick Mnuchin for Treasury secretary
4 big areas where Steven Mnuchin could change policy at Treasury
America’s New Dealmakers-in-Chief

Position: Secretary of Defense
Nominee: James Mattis
Background: Retired U.S. Marine Corps general
Committee: Senate Armed Services
Confirmation Hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump picks General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as defense secretary
Democrats talk up the one Trump nomination they can torpedo
Hagel worries Mattis might eclipse Joint Chiefs
9 unforgettable quotes by James Mattis

Position: Interior Secretary
Nominee: Rep. Ryan Zinke
Background: Montana Republican Congressman, former U.S. Navy SEAL commander
Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Confirmation hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump selects Zinke as Interior secretary
Trump’s Interior pick lifts outdoors groups

Position: Energy Secretary
Nominee: Rick Perry
Background: Former governor of Texas
Committee: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Confirmation hearing: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump picks Perry to lead Energy Department he once vowed to kill
The selling of Rick Perry’s smarts
Quick facts on Rick Perry, Trump’s pick for secretary of Energy

Position: Environmental Protection Agency administrator
Nominee: Scott Pruitt
Background: Oklahoma Attorney General
Committee: Senate Environment and Public Works
Confirmation Hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump officially picks Oklahoma AG Pruitt to lead EPA
Obama’s mighty EPA falls into Pruitt’s hands
Democrats press EPA pick Pruitt on energy sector ties

Position: Ambassador to the United Nations
Nominee: Nikki Haley
Background: Governor of South Carolina
Committee: Senate Foreign Relations
Confirmation hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump taps Nikki Haley to be U.N. ambassador
Haley shocked by Trump’s interest
The Mainstreaming of Nikki Haley

Position: Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Nominee: Rep. Mick Mulvaney
Background: South Carolina Republican Congressman
Committee: Senate Budget and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Confirmation hearings: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Mulvaney tapped to lead Trump’s budget office

Position: U.S. trade representative
Nominee: Robert Lighthizer
Background: Trade attorney, former deputy USTR under President Ronald Reagan
Committee: Senate Finance
Confirmation hearing: TBD
Recent Coverage:
Trump picks Lighthizer to serve as U.S. trade representative
Trump poised to weaken trade agency

Betsy Devos: 5 Things to Know

President-Elect Donald Trump on Wednesday said he will nominate the Michigan philanthropist and prominent Republican donor Betsy DeVos to be U.S. Education Secretary. The announcement signals that big changes could be on the way for schools and students around the country. Here are five things to know:

1. DeVos will push for school choice.

DeVos has been a vocal supporter of school choice, which is something Trump backed on the campaign trail. DeVos, who heads up the pro-charter and pro-school-voucher nonprofit American Federation for Children, has said parents should have the ability to choose the best schools for their children, whether they are traditional public schools, charters, or private schools. Trump has proposed creating a $20 billion federal voucher program for families to use to send their kids to the school of their choice. But, as Education Week noted recently, making that program a reality could be difficult. It’s unclear exactly where the funding would come from, and even if Congress did manage to pass such a proposal, some states currently prohibit funds from going to schools with religious affiliations, which could complicate how those funds are used.

2. Critics of the Common Core standards may have reason to worry.

While Trump repeatedly assailed the set of standards used in most states across the country, DeVos has been less clear about her stance on them. She also served on the board of the former Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which supported the controversial standards. And Trump’s transition team reportedly discussed the idea of “higher national standards” with DeVos. Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal the standards isn’t actually realistic because they are not a federal mandate. It’s possible that DeVos and the administration might support similar standards while avoiding the politically toxic Common Core nomenclature.

3. Expect deregulation to be a priority.

According to Chalkbeat, DeVos’s family poured $1.45 million into an effort to prevent Michigan from adding oversight for charter schools. That effort ultimately failed. DeVos and her husband have been supporters of charter schools for decades and longtime opponents of regulation. And according to Chalkbeat, around 80 percent of the state’s charter schools are run by private companies. The lack of oversight has prompted concern from the Obama administration that some bad charters were being allowed to operate without improving or being forced to close. Civil-rights groups like the NAACP have also expressed concern that low-income children and children of color suffer when oversight is scaled back.

4. She’s politically active, but she doesn’t have a lot of political experience.

DeVos, 58, is married to Dick DeVos, who ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the governorship in Michigan. He is the former president of Amway, which his father co-founded, and of the Orlando Magic NBA team. Her brother, Erik Prince, founded Blackwater, the controversial security firm. The family has given to a number of conservative and Christian organizations. While Betsy DeVos has served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, much of her work has been at the state level, and she will now have to, as Chalkbeat wrote, “operate within a complicated web of interests and priorities, including with education officials in states that did not support Trump.” Her ability to navigate Washington is largely untested.

5. The reaction to her nomination is mixed.

DeVos’s selection as education secretary will please Republicans like Senator Lamar Alexander, who heads up the Senate’s education committee.

But teachers’ unions see her support of charter schools and vouchers as an affront to public education, something Randi Weingarten, the head of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, quickly made clear.

Alia Wong contributed to this story.