Watch live: Tom Price's second confirmation hearing for HHS

By UPI Staff

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Georgia Rep. Tom Price, one of the biggest critics of the Affordable Care Act, appears for his second confirmation hearing Tuesday to become HHS secretary.

Should he be confirmed, the six-term Republican congressman would be responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, the Food and Drug Administration and various federal medical research agencies.


Price already testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. Tuesday's hearing is before at 10 a.m. before the Senate Finance Committee.

During his earlier hearing, Price said the Republican replacement for Obamacare will not take insurance coverage away from Americans.

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"Nobody's interested in pulling the rug out from anybody," Price said. "I think there's been a lot of talk about individuals losing health coverage. That is not our goal or our desire, nor is it our plan."

Among the ACA provisions Price has been most critical of is the requirement that insurance plans cover the cost of contraception, which he has opposed federal funding for but voted in favor of while a member of the Georgia state legislature. The difference, he said in 2012, is that the state was making the decision, rather than the federal government.


"We think it's important that Washington not be in charge of healthcare," Price told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year. "The problem that I have with Obamacare is that its premise is that Washington knows best."

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Price is a former orthopedic surgeon who has been one of the fiercest critics of President Barack Obama's effort to reform health insurance.

Price has worked with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to create a Republican replacement built around health savings accounts and capping how much employers can spend on providing employee health insurance before being taxed.

The plan would also motivate states to create insurance programs for people with pre-existing medical conditions and would allow insurers to sell policies across state lines, he said.

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Price's first confirmation hearing came one day after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put out a report saying some 18 million Americans will lose their health insurance within one year if the ACA is repealed and replaced with a plan similar to one Republicans proposed in 2015. The number of uninsured would rise by 32 million and premium amounts would double in 10 years.


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