Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump's HHS secretary pick has anti-gay record, could undermine lgbt health

Rep. Tom Price
President-elect Donald Trump is expected to select Georgia Congressman Tom Price as the secretary of Health and Human Services. This pick is bad news for Obamacare and the lgbt community.

According to The Advocate:

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has represented a suburban Atlanta district in Congress since 2004. In addition to being an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, he has a string of zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for opposing LGBT rights. He called the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision “a sad day for marriage.” He also is against abortion rights and opposes federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

It is no doubt that Trump is counting on Price to assist in the so-called dismantling of Obamacare, a promise he made while campaigning, and create a replacement; something Trump and the GOP has been less vocally strident about.

In terms of the lgbt community, aside from I posted from The Advocate, a 2013 conference call Price participated in is now in the spotlight.

According to Right Wing Watch:

Georgia congressman and potential Senate candidate Tom Price appeared  . .  on a conference call with Tea Party Unity, the group founded by far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, where he agreed with a caller who suggested that any bill involving social issues should require a study of the “fiscal impact” the legislation would have.

The caller was none other than Rabbi Noson Leiter, who blamed Hurricane Sandy on New York’s marriage equality law. Leiter warned about the “tremendous medical health impact and economic impact” of the “homosexual agenda” and asked Price whether Congress will consider studying the “fiscal impact” that “promoting such a lifestyle will result in.”

Price hailed Leiter and said he was “absolutely right,” adding that “the consequences of activity that has been seen as outside the norm are real and must be explored completely and in their entirety prior to moving forward with any social legislation that would alter things.”

He went on to say he was dismayed by “people who wake up one morning and think that they’ve got a grand new way of doing something” that ends up becoming “a huge cost-driver to state pensions” and have significant health costs.

Price seems to have been embracing the religious right distortion that "homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle." This is a talking point so-called traditional values groups like the Family Research Council embrace by trumpeting negative health  statistics about the lgbt community, while often times ignoring or deliberately omitting how societal homophobia creates the conditions which causes said negative health.

The Huffington Post has pointed out how Price could, as HHS secretary, undermine lgbt health:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals have long dealt with particular health challenges, including discrimination ― which can contribute to mental health issues, poverty and substance abuse ― physical and sexual violence, HIV and AIDs. They also routinely face stigma from health care providers, such as denial of care and being blamed for their health status. Carriers have also denied coverage based on “pre-existing conditions,” such as having a transgender medical history. 

Democrats and the Obama administration took unprecedented steps to address these problems, including carving out nondiscrimination protections through the Affordable Care Act. If the health care law is repealed ― an action Price has supported ― many of these protections would likely go away. But even if the law stays on the books, the Trump administration could choose not to prioritize enforcement of LGBTQ protections, or to go further and try to change the rules. 
And the only individuals coming out on top in either scenario would be groups like the Family Research Council because they would have more potential outcomes of negative lgbt health to exploit and lie about.

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